West Ham’s decision to stick with Allardyce set to pay dividends

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With the Premier League season yet to be a week old, Sam Allardyce was clinging onto his job. At 6/4, the West Ham boss was the overwhelming favourite for the next top-flight boss to be shown the door back in August.

Sections of the Irons faithful were vociferous in their want for the former Bolton gaffer out, frustrated at not only his chosen style of play, but an inability to consistently deliver when resorting to such negative tactics.

But co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan stood by their man, and the club haven’t looked back.

Tasked with delivering more attractive football, with some Hammers supporters clinging onto the ‘West Ham way’ of playing, thrown out so much that it has reached cliché status, Sam went to work.

And Allardyce is a man that has delivered on his targets since moving to east London. Firstly securing promotion during the 2011/12 season, followed by survival, and completed by consolidating Premier League status last time out.

The players that have arrived at the Boleyn Ground signal that the team has a Plan B, no longer striving to simply find another big man to lump it up to in Andy Carroll’s absence.

Enner Valencia, Diafra Sackho and Mauro Zarate all look inspired signings as the club aims to move away from a long ball stigma that they have been attached to under Allardyce’s reign.

Now with the ball on the floor, some easy on the eye football has been emanating from the team, and results are sure to come.

An abject performance against Southampton aside, West Ham have played well in each league game so far this campaign; unlucky to concede a late goal against Tottenham, dominant against Crystal Palace, and spirited to twice fight back from behind against Hull.

A top 10 finish now looks well within their grasp, a feat for which they are priced up at 11/4 to achieve.

Another test for Allardyce will come when Andy Carroll returns to full fitness, and it will be a test of his character.

Whether Big Sam sticks with the current crop, delivering watchable, flowing football and leaves his £18m signing on the bench, forced to earn his place back, or slotting the number … straight back in and return to his old ways.

Next up for the Hammers is a visit of Liverpool, a side they have beaten just once in their last 11 meetings, for which they are a 15/4 shot, with the Reds at 4/6 and a draw available at 11/4.

How the home boss approaches this one could speak volumes about his ambition for the season.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.