If you thought that when the transfer window slammed shut last week, all the big deals were done, you were wrong. In the most sensational swoop since PSG plundered Neymar from under Barca’s nose, former England, West Ham and Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has agreed terms with Paddy Power as a feature columnist.
Sam will be giving his thoughts on every aspect of the game in a series of columns over the course of the season. To kick things off, this week he’s reflecting on his time at West Ham…
Having worked at West Ham under the Davids, I know that if you’re going to manage their club, you just have to accept the way they work.
David Gold is always keen to engage with fans on Twitter, while David Sullivan occasionally comes out and – if he thinks things aren’t going well – will take aim at you and the players. That’s the way they are.
As a manager the best way to avoid that is to get the results they need and expect.
Obviously, it’s been a difficult start to the season for the Hammers. Firstly, of course, the results, but also the three away trips in a row due to the legacy of the stadium move. That’s out of Slaven’s hands.
But he now has to absorb all of the criticism, keep it away from the players, and get them to perform so they can get the required results.
There is extreme pressure at the bottom of the table already. Those teams on zero points are all desperate to pick up a result. Certainly West Ham wouldn’t have expected a start like this: that’s why there’s more criticism, because they’re an established Premier League club.
But the West Ham board are actually very patient. Even though they’re very public in their criticism, they’re not trigger happy. You just have to look at Sullivan and Gold’s track-record at Birmingham as well – they don’t make quick decisions.
It’s tough on Slaven, but if you don’t get results you put your job in a delicate position.
All managers know and accept that. I don’t know how many problems he has with the players, injuries and suspension, but the international break has allowed him to take stock of what’s gone wrong so far.
Though he probably had players flying off here, there and everywhere, he would’ve used it is an opportunity with his staff to go forward and get that win he so needs.
When I heard Mike Ashley say that sacking me was his biggest regret I was very grateful that somebody would admit making a mistake.
Newcastle was a big club for me, and I really wanted to work hard to improve them. So it was very disappointing indeed when I had to leave.
Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to let sleeping dogs lie. The past is the past: use the experience to move forward and learn from.
What could I have done much better at Newcastle? Not much, really.
Mike wanted to get his own man in – that decision was made when he first came into football. To be frank, he wasn’t very experienced then.
What does the future hold?
At the moment, international jobs are the only ones of genuine interest to me – I don’t want to jump straight back into the pressure-cooker that is the Premier League.
I’m enjoying spending time with my family taking trips we couldn’t do before. We jetted off to Hawaii recently, which would’ve been impossible as a manager with only a few weeks off each summer.
Something else that’s been a pleasure to rediscover is being able to watch games on TV from afar. The Premier League is a very exciting league to watch, though not so much when you’re a manger sat in the relegation positions.
I’m doing my best to keep my fill my time as much as possible. On Monday I’m doing a charity event with Sir Alex in the day, and then Monday Night Football in the evening with Jamie Carragher. So believe me, I’m a very busy bee indeed.