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Daily Archives: May 18, 2012

xclusive – Allardyce: I won’t be sacked if West Ham don’t go up

 

 

Sam Allardyce admits he fears the sack from West Ham – but not if the club lose the Championship play-off final this weekend.

The Hammers were favourites to bounce straight back into the Premier League at the first time of asking having reinforced strongly in both transfer windows, but poor home form hampered their chances and Allardyce’s side had to settle for a third place finish.

After seeing off Cardiff in the semi-finals, the east London club now face a play-off final against Ian Holloway’s Blackpool, but Allardyce isn’t worried about his job should his side lose to the Tangerines.

If I don’t get West Ham up I won’t expect the sack— Sam Allardyce

“If I don’t get West Ham up I won’t expect the sack,” he told talkSPORT. “I have a two year contract with David Sullivan and David Gold. They told me that I’ve got to get West Ham back up in two years, otherwise I haven’t done the job.

“I want to get them back up in one season though. We went all out for the first season but if we don’t quite make it, we’ll make it next year.

“You fear the sack in this job with every bad result. Kenny Dalglish and Alex McLeish both had just over a year and now they’re gone.

“At any given time a run of bad results will get you the sack. What you have to do is keep winning football matches. There’s not a lot of security in the job.”

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Sam Allardyce exclusive: We’ll all be nervous and losing will be the worst feeling but I still love the play-offs

Squaring up: either Ian Holloway or Sam Allardyce will get their hands on the Play-off Final trophy tomorrow but the real prize is a passport to the riches of the Premier League

 

The preparation is nearly finished, the fine-tuning almost done — it’s just a matter of managing things between now and 3pm tomorrow.

One dilemma for us in the build-up to the Championship Play-off Final was whether to take the lads away this week to limit the distractions or leave them in their homes to have as normal a build-up to the game as they can.

We decided that the players staying at home was the best course of action but I told the players to blank all telephone calls from friends and family asking for tickets after Tuesday.

I don’t think any of them have played a more important game than this one, in terms of what it can bring to them as individuals, as a team and as a club.

It’s their responsibility to deliver and the more they focus on the task and the less they are distracted, the better their performance will be, hopefully.

There was a thought we would go to Wembley earlier in the week, just to have a look around because you can’t train on the pitch. We gave the players that option but they decided they would rather leave it until the day.

The fans will play an important part tomorrow. Wembley is one of the biggest and best arenas in world football and the supporters there sing that little bit louder and longer, which helps create the sort of atmosphere which every player must dream of.

I was never fortunate to play there but these players have that opportunity to go for glory in this marvellous arena and in front of a full house.

If you are successful, you will keep that memory for the rest of your life but if it is the reverse, it will be the worst feeling in the world because it’s not losing a cup final or a one-off competition, it’s losing more than 10 months of hard graft. So, the message is be well-prepared now and get ready to deliver your best performance.

We finished this week training at Upton Park to give the players that arena atmosphere and we’ve been doing our final tactical work there.

After training today we were due to travel to our hotel in central London and about 40 minutes from Wembley, for the night.

As for nerves, everyone will be feeling them on the day. I’ll be terrible but part of the discipline is controlling your inner feelings and not letting them show externally.

As a manager you close down probably more than anyone else because you’re already thinking about what might happen, what you may need to do, what hopefully will go right and what you will have to do if it doesn’t.

You hope that the players start well and show in the first 10 minutes the same sort of form they have displayed in the last part of the season. If they do that, it will settle everyone down and help make you feel a little more comfortable.

It’s a one-off though, isn’t it? You just hope that nothing out of your control goes against you, that you do your job and get your just rewards by the way you’ve played.

You hope it doesn’t get taken away from you by something which is somebody else’s fault. You hope everyone makes the decisions in the right and proper manner.

We’ll start the match as favourites, just as we did in the semi-finals, but it is nowhere near a foregone conclusion as some people might be suggesting. We will have to earn this victory and, if we succeed, it will be hard-earned.

We’re up against a team and a manager who have done great things this season and we can’t — we won’t — under-estimate them.

Ian Holloway, like us, lost a lot of his players after they were relegated but the club have rebuilt steadily and shrewdly.

I know some people will look at the League table, see us finishing 11 points ahead of Blackpool and say the play-offs are unfair.

I’m not in that camp. The play-offs keep the entertainment and the tension going right to the end for a lot of clubs in this country.

While it often looks harsh when you look at the final table, the sheer entertainment value the play-offs have provided over the years has been memorable. When Bolton won it in 2001, we finished third, 13 points ahead of West Brom whom we played in the semi-finals but we were 2-0 down after 55 minutes and I was looking at another year of cut-backs.

Fortunately, we turned it around to draw 2-2, won the second leg 3-0 and then beat Preston by the same score in the final. That changed my whole life. My status as a manager soared because I had earned the right to be in charge of a team in the Premier League — something every manager in the world wants to do.

When you are in the Premier League you get worldwide recognition, branding and credibility.

Since then and up to joining West Ham, I had spent my career in the Premier League and I want to get back there.

That’s why you play football, that’s why you manage — to reach the highest possible standard you can and, in club terms, it doesn’t come any higher than the Premier League.

By Sunday, it will all be over and we will know whether to push on with Plan A or B.

Whichever one it turns out to be, we have to finalise things very quickly because everything is held in abeyance before we know the result of tomorrow’s match.

It has been difficult to put everything on hold because a lot of decisions have to be made on players at this time of the year, which is another difficult job for me.

However, our destiny is in our own hands tomorrow, when we’ll all suffer or all gain huge credibility.

Day the dream died

As we savour the chance to go back up, two of my former clubs, Bolton and Blackburn, are making the depressing downward journey.

Bolton’s relegation is more sad for me because of the feelings I have for both the club and the town.

When your dreams of becoming a footballer become a reality — as they did for me at Bolton — you will always retain an affection for that club.

Then to manage the club, to see them become a strong and good Premier League club — and for that to crumble into relegation — was a sad day for me.

It gives me no satisfaction to see Blackburn relegated but I believe it shows what a good job I did there.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Blackpool v West Ham

Allardyce: Heavy favourite
Allardyce: Heavy favourite

Blackpool and West Ham will contest one of the most lucrative matches in English football when they clash in the Championship play-off final on Saturday.

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The two sides are both within a chance of making an instant return to the Premier League, with each having suffered relegation at the end of the 2010/11 season.

The Hammers and the Seasiders finished the second tier of English football third and fifth respectively this term, with the former romping through their play-off semi-final encounter against Cardiff with an aggregate score of 5-0.

Ian Holloway’s men, meanwhile, made things slightly more complicated for themselves in their last-four encounter against Birmingham, but eventually came through victors after earning a 3-2 aggregate win.

However, it is Sam Allardyce’s men who head into this weekend’s tie as the firm favourites, having smashed eight goals past their upcoming opponents in their two regular season fixtures, which ended 4-0 at Upton Park and 4-1 at Bloomfield Road.

On the team front, Blackpool’s Kevin Phillips will be hoping to put his play-off ghosts to bed, with the 38-year-old having twice lost in the finals, first with Sunderland in 1998 and again with West Brom in 2007.

West Ham, meanwhile, have been handed a massive boost as Jack Collison appears to have fully recovered a dislocated shoulder he suffered in the second-leg clash against Birmingham.

The striker has been inspirational in the team’s progress to the final, scoring both goals in the play-off semi-final first-leg victory.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

TC backs Cole to be hero

Tony Cottee believes fellow striker Carlton Cole can shoot the Hammers to promotion
 18.05.2012

West Ham United great Tony Cottee believes Carlton Cole could be the man to shoot the Hammers to promotion in Saturday’s npower Championship Play-Off final.

Cottee, who bagged 146 goals in 336 games for the Club, has backed his fellow striker and England international to be the hero when West Ham take on Blackpool at Wembley.

In a revealing interview with whufc.com, the 46-year-old also talked about his memories of playing in five Wembley cup finals, representing England at the Home of Football and the threat posed by Ian Holloway’s side this weekend.


Tony, we go into the Play-Off final on a good run of form, so are you confident we can get the job done against Blackpool?

TC – I think so. It’s been a good run for us. We had a great run of form at the end of the season, didn’t we? I was at the semi-final second leg against Cardiff and we won and I thought we played well. We played some good football, created chances and deservedly won 3-0. It was a fantastic two-legged performance, really, so I think all West Ham fans should go into the game confident. However, this is the Play-Off final and form doesn’t mean anything like in any cup final. That’s my only concern, that we might freeze or anything could happen. We could have bad luck or a sending-off. If you ask me if I think we are a better team than Blackpool, then of course I do and I’m expecting to win, but I’m not 100 per cent about it.

What do we have to do to beat a team like Blackpool who throw everything at you?

TC – For me, we need to nullify their two star players, who from what I’ve seen are Matty Phillips and Tom Ince. They are the two wide players. I don’t think they are that sound defensively and they will concede goals, which is a positive for us, but up front and in midfield they are OK. We just need to stop those two wide players running at us. I watched their game against Birmingham and they looked very dangerous on the break. I don’t know how Blackpool will play it, but they seem to only know one way and that’s to go out and attack. If that’s the case, it should make a for a great final.

Carlton Cole

Who do you think could be West Ham United’s match-winner?

TC – I would say Carlton Cole, because if he performs then I think we will win the game. He is the guy who will lead the line. What he needs to do, like any good centre forward, is to hold the ball up and bring others into play. If he does that, it will be the key to it. On his day, Carlton probably deserves to be in the England squad, but we just haven’t seen it consistently this season – for obvious reasons like getting relegated and that sort of stuff, and I get that. He’s come into form and seems to have re-established himself as the No1 striker, which is great, so as much as we have other match-winners like Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard, for me Carlton is the key.

You played at Wembley for club and country many times. What was the experience like for you?

TC – I’m a Club Wembley season ticket holder so I go to all the England games and as many other games as I can. I cannot believe it is 31 years since I went as a 15-year-old to the 1981 League Cup final just before I joined West Ham and that was the last time we played at Wembley. It feels like yesterday and I remember the emotion of Ray Stewart rolling the ball in the corner and Ray Clemence going the wrong way (Stewart equalised with a last-minute penalty). We were all saying ‘Just smash it Ray!’ and he just rolled it into the corner, which was fantastic. It’s been a long, long time. I’ve said consistently this season that, forgetting everything else, the West Ham fans deserve a day out at Wembley. A lot of people said we didn’t want to go into the Play-Offs but this way the fans get a day out. I’m so pleased for them and I just hope we can finish it off with a victory.

Tony Cottee

What was the Wembley highlight of your playing career?

TC – I played in the 1989 FA Cup final for Everton but we didn’t win the game [against Liverpool] and personally I didn’t play very well. I probably enjoyed the League Cup final for Leicester when we beat Tranmere in 2000. I played in five Wembley finals – one FA Cup, two League Cup and two Full Members Cup – and lost four and won one, so the one we won is the memory. Obviously playing for England was a great thrill for me, but the final we won was just a real great feeling to win a tournament. This Saturday, it’s all very well having a great day out, but if we lose it will be a horrible feeling.

 
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Steve Kean comments disappoint West Ham boss Sam Allardyce

In the line of fire: Steve Kean’s role has again come under scrutiny this week

Sam Allardyce has admitted he is disappointed by the comments allegedly made about him by Blackburn boss Steve Kean, which emerged this week.

The Scot has become the centre of an internet storm after video footage of him appearing to making disparaging remarks about Rovers predecessor Allardyce was published by a fans’ action group.

West Ham boss Allardyce, who is taking legal action against his former assistant, said: “It’s disappointing but it’s in the hands of my lawyers and they are taking the action that is appropriate under the law of the land.”

Kean’s role has again come under scrutiny this week, following Rovers’ relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

The Scot, the subject of protests from disgruntled fans throughout a dismal season, has been in India for talks with owners Venky’s, leading to speculation he may be replaced – but he currently remains in position.

Allardyce is bidding to take their place in the top flight, with West Ham facing Blackpool in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Saturday.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized