Friday, March 28

Win or lose we're on the boos?

Well, a lot of media coverage has been generated by the reaction to West Ham's victory over Hull on Wednesday. Firstly, I'd say the booing was only coming from a small minority of fans. What I heard at the end of the game on the East Stand was more a stunned silence after an emotionally draining game and a fortuitous victory. Though as Patrick Barclay in the Evening Standard pointed out yesterday, it's not a crime to boo as fans pay the players' wages through gate money and TV subscriptions. It's been made into a big story because of Sam Allardyce's thin-skinned reaction to it. Had he not cocked his ear to the fans or commented on it in post-match interviews the story wouldn't have been half as big.

Winning is important to West Ham fans, especially in a season like this, but reared on the teams of Greenwood, Lyall and Redknapp they also want entertainment and some fantasy. As Big Sam says you can't win every game in style, but once survival is secured we have to improve to fill those seats at the Olympic Stadium and the board has to decide whether Allardyce can evolve his side beyond a solid outfit that can win games when playing badly or playing on the break and having a minority of possession. What the team needs is a player who can raise the crowd, be it through Bonds-like commitment or Di Canio-esque skill, and a striker to support Andy Carroll. Allardyce's record is good - promotion and hopefully two seasons of consolidation. But bearing in mind his confrontational style and the fact a certain section of the crowd will never take to him, will the board opt for a name like Michael Laudrup in the summer as today's Daily Telegraph suggests? Clearly the Davids have some thinking to do over the summer.

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