I couldn't help but smile at Samuel's pronunciation in The Mirror, that he restored the 'soul' to West Ham United Football Club. The prophet Samuel says that there are 'happy' faces at the Boleyn Ground once more. I'm afraid that's stretching it a bit Samuel! The supporters are the soul of West Ham, this season, as always the support has been exceptional.
I think prophet Samuel, you can justifiably claim to have raised the morale of the playing staff. As for the board, after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, I would wedge my bets that at times the chairman, have felt like putting a bullet through your head! Still, its not been all negative as far as Allardyce is concerned...Yes the club was undoubtedly in a mess, when Prophet Samuel arrived to set us free.
Morale was low following relegation;a complete overhaul of the squad was required and he did well to turn things around in such a short time. He was fortunate the chairman, put their money where their mouth was, and backed him in the transfer market, allowing him to assemble a squad that was by far the strongest in the championship.
A squad which should have clinched automatic promotion, some time ago. The undoing of Allardyce and the teams undoing has been his defensive approach to matches. Even when we played Leicester, and we were 2-1 up, needing goals, Allardyce sending on Collins for Collison spoke volumes for his approach to football matches.
Samuel's relationship with the Boleyn Ground faithful has never been easy, especially when he decided to call them 'deluded'. However, during the last month or so, Allardyce has got the team playing some good football, even when employing 4-5-1 against Leceister we played some quality football. It leads me to believe irrespective of whether we clinch automatic promotion or not, things are on the up. We are going up! It is a tough game to call against Hull City tomorrow. We will all be hoping for a miracle,but in reality, there is little hope.
I don't expect Allardyce to change the team much from the team that started the Leicester City game. He will have to be positive, and go for goals, but the team will have to make sure it keeps it discipline and shape.
It's going to be of no use coming charging out the starting blocks and leave gaping holes at the back, and before you can open your eyes, we are 0-2 down. Whether we get promoted or not, the most important thing is to walk off at the end of the game, having won and played well. Do that and we're half way to Wembley! However, a defeat, loss or nervy 1-0 win will see us approach the play-offs bereft of confidence, and we'll no doubt pay the ultimate price, and fail to get promotion.
Of course all eyes will be on St Mary's, and should word filter down that Southampton are three up, with twenty minutes to go, then Allardyce will probably withdraw key players. By that time, that time we will hopefully be in a commanding position. I expect his bench will be a more attacking one than normal, just in case the most unlikely of scenario unfolds, and Southampton are trailing or drawing with ten minutes to go. Then if we need a goal or two, expect to see four strikers on the pitch.
What is vital is that whatever happens, the players keep their heads. It would be an absolute DISASTER if a key player got himself sent off through a reckless challenge and missed the play offs.
Mistakes have been made by Allardyce, individual players, but it's no use harping on about the past, now is about the future. Promotion is the hard part. I'm confident should that be achieved, better days lay ahead, glory days? Not just yet, but in the not too distant future. Time to get the Boleyn Ground rocking, time to heal, time to dream. We are more than a football club, we're a way of life!COYI'S!