Big Sam ready for big kick-off
It's not been noted whether Sam Allardyce is a fan of the genius of Oscar Wilde but nonetheless Wilde's quote --"There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about" -- must surely resonate with the beleaguered Hammers boss as the season draws near.
Big Sam hasn't really got much to offer in the way of comfort, bar the fact that at least the Hammers' profile is up there with some of the Premier League's heavy hitters. In fact, take out Southampton from the equation and the Boleyn outfit can probably point to more media column inches in the close season than any other club. Louis van Gaal can only look on in envy.
It's been noted -- not least by Allardyce himself -- that a torrid preseason doesn't actually mean much once the real thing itself gets under way; it's just unfortunate though that the bad feeling from the tail end of the 2013-14 campaign got carried over into the summer. After all, the transfer dealings look more than adequate and the club has a more robust look than last season.
It would be wrong to say there aren't those among the claret and blue ranks who fear for the Hammers in the forthcoming season. However, there seems little reason to be concerned. Allardyce will either sort out the tactical switch to the more expansive football he was told to provide, revert to type and battle his way through the season or Messrs. Gold and Sullivan will get someone else in. As David Moyes is currently odds on to be that person -- and surely the Scot is a man who could find much to utilise in the current squad -- the only worry would be if Moyes or any other suitable manager is snapped up by another club before any decision is made.
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Rumours emanating from the training ground seem to suggest that harmony is the watchword at the moment: Gold has apologised for "favouriting" a Tweet from a fan asking when Allardyce was going to be sacked, inevitably claiming that he was jet-lagged and it had been a mistake. Allardyce is talking up the new signings and promising even more -- including a high-profile replacement for Andy Carroll -- and Mark Noble is telling everybody that the squad is up and raring to go. There's Ravel Morrison, of course, but it's probably just best to draw a veil over that at the moment.
The brutal and slightly ludicrous fact is if West Ham were to begin the 2014-15 with a fourth consecutive win over Tottenham, much of the preseason torment will be forgotten in an instant. Of course, a loss will ring alarm bells even before the first week is out but that's only to be expected.
It's a complete nonsense of course, but that's life in the Premier League. The best we can all do now is just wait for it all to begin and buckle up for thrills, spills, frustration, anger, dashed hopes and eternal optimism.
It's West Ham United. Why expect anything else?