The kiss of death from Big Sam: Could West Ham be heading for relegation?

Whenever Big Sam leaves a club in good shape, they fail to build on his success and quickly succumb to relegation

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The Independent Football

West Ham's owners issued the criteria for their new manager following the departure of Sam Allardyce, calling on someone who could take the club to "the next level" and win trophies.

David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady may be dreaming of the FA Cup, League Cup or even a European trophy, but in releasing Big Sam they may have to aim for something a little less prestigious: the Championship title.

For at every club Allardyce has managed, when the directors part company with the big man, the team suffers and falls. When Sam says he knows how to keep a club in the Premier League and ensure stability, he means it. For a club like West Ham - relegated twice in the last decade - the loss of Big Sam could be a disaster of "Olympic" proportions.

When Sam took charge of Bolton during the 1999 League One season, they were in the bottom half of the table. Yet within two years they were back in the Premier League, where he kept them until he left six years later, as well as a League Cup final along the way.

In his final four years at Wanderers, Allardyce recorded consecutive top ten finishes. Only Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool did that during the same period. Thus, as Bolton went through a succession of managers after Big Sam - Sammy Lee, Gary Megson and Owen Coyle - they ultimately went down in 2012 after struggling for a number of years. They are yet to return to the Premier League.

Allardyce then went on to manage at Newcastle, where he was never given enough time to ensure he moulded the club to his philosophy. The decline was more rapid once Allardyce left, leaving at the start of 2008, with the club dropping out of the top flight the following year.

So too was the case at Blackburn, one time champions of the Premier League.  Sacked suddenly by the owners in December 2010, Sir Alex Ferguson said the decision was "absolutely ridiculous." Sir Alex is rarely wrong, and just under two years later, Blackburn were going down to the Championship.

The 2011/2012 season should act as a reminder for West Ham now: that year saw Blackburn and Newcastle - two clubs that had sacked Allardyce - relegated into the Championship. And which club was one of the teams to take one of the spots vacated by the Magpies and Rovers? None other than Sam Allardyce's West Ham, having promoted the club in his first year in charge.

Big Sam's Kiss of Death

Left Notts County: 1999; Relegated: 2004

Left Bolton: 2007; Relegated: 2012

Left Newcastle: 2008; Relegated: 2009

Left Blackburn: 2010; Relegated: 2012

Left West Ham: 2015; Relegated: ??

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