Allardyce promises promotion 'without sounding arrogant'

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Sam Allardyce has a plan for West Ham now he has arrived at the Championship club as manager. This involves promotion back to the Premier League, at the first attempt if possible but certainly before moving to the Olympic Stadium in 2014. Then it is a question of challenging for honours and qualifying for Europe.

You have to admire the self-belief of a man who established Bolton as top-flight perennials but was subsequently hired and fired by Newcastle and then Blackburn. Especially as the Hammers flirted with disaster under Gianfranco Zola two seasons ago before embracing it whole-heartedly with Avram Grant last term.

"Without sounding too arrogant, the expertise I have gained as a manager in the Premier League over the last 10 years will build a togetherness that can achieve promotion to the Premier League at the first time of asking," Allardyce announced.

"It's a difficult task but it can be achieved and at a club the size of West Ham it needs to be done as quickly as possible. The team must be back in the Premier League when it moves into the Olympic Stadium.

"My ultimate goal is to be in the top half of the Premier League searching for European places or cup finals as I did with Bolton, although that is a long time off."

All this must be achieved at a club where half the first team has already departed, having allowed contracts to expire or exercised clauses, and the best of the rest wish to leave as soon as possible, too. Though no "concrete" bids have yet been received for England trio Scott Parker, Robert Green and Carlton Cole, Allardyce does not expect to name any of them in his team on the opening day of the season at home to Cardiff.

Allardyce also knows his reputation for the long ball does not sit well with supporters of a club that styles itself the "Academy of Football" – and had plenty to say about that, too.

"When did West Ham last play the West Ham way?" he demanded. "Getting relegated can't be the West Ham way. The club has been up and down like a yo-yo. The West Ham way is about winning football matches and the joy of winning. Wherever I have been I have entertained the public irrespective of the long ball perception. That's what I do."