Former Toon boss Sam Allardyce has done what was expected of him – getting West Ham promoted. But, just like his time at St James’ Park, he has yet to win over the fans.
Chris Hughton achieved promotion with an attacking side that blazed a trail through the Championship, and brought pride back to Tyneside.
Big Sam, on the other hand, got the Hammers up through the back-door, despite having a squad that should have stormed that league.
Today he challenges his West Ham side to get into a good position in the first nine games of the season because he expects November and December to be a particularly tough period.
The Hammers lost their opening four matches two years ago and never recovered as they suffered relegation to the Championship.
Having bounced back up at the first attempt, Allardyce knows his men cannot afford a similar start and he is looking to pick up three points at home to Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the season.
Sam Allardyce: “The first nine games up to Manchester City are ones we must try to achieve as many points as we can. It will be hugely difficult but not as difficult as what follows.
“We get through October and then November and December are the toughest months of the season, not only because of the fixtures but the number of games we have to play.
“We’ve got to get off to get off to a flying start and achieve as many points as we can in the first nine or 10 games. The fixtures are difficult though; nothing is going to be easy at all.”