West Ham: Allardyce Sent That Team Out To Lose & Revelled In The Bloodbath
I woke up this morning with optimism.
For weeks fans (and myself) have been calling for Big Sam to blood our talented youngsters in the first team and we were getting what we asked for. Players like Callum Driver, Sebastien Lletget and George Moncur would get a chance on a big stage. Now was their time to take the bull by the horns and ensure that footballing embarrassments like Kevin Nolan wouldn't ever get a look-in again.
That did not happen.
Many of the players did not cover themselves in glory (Moncur's challenge for the penalty came about because of his own sloppy play and he spent the rest of the afternoon wearing that mistake heavily on his shoulders) but, really, the lads were fall guys as he strived to prove a point.
In a massive middle-finger to fans who dared to tell Allardyce how to do his job - the man who at Blackburn claimed he should be the manager of Real Madrid; a man quick to point out to detractors that he understands 'sports science' like no other - he played all of the young players at once, and revelled in their bloodbath.
In the smuggest, most vile post-match interview I've ever seen, Sam stood there and shrugged. "Not my fault," he said. "Injuries." He threw the young players under the bus, making it clear that while our Development squad might be top of the under-21 league that doesn't mean they're any good. "Shut up and don't ever tell me what to do again," he may as well have said.
What chance does a team have when they feature three debutants, a back-three consisting of one senior player and Modibo Maïga up-front?
I don't want to get bogged down in tactics but Sam's insistence that we should be playing 3-5-2 borders on lunacy. We've got Callum Driver, a competent young centre-half, and Alou Diarra, a perfectly serviceable centre-midfielder who's able to 'do a job' in defence. Danny Potts is clearly more of a full-back and it would've only taken one more from the Dev squad to make a back-four. What was he thinking? To play a back-three you need a brilliant defensive-midfielder and great wing-backs - unfortunately for us, Moncur, Downing and Jarvis are none of those things.
Sam went to Forest to lose, just to shut everyone up.
Today was the first time I saw West Ham fans finally show the appropriate amount of anger at the state of our situation. Now not only are we goners in the Premier League but we've also destroyed the confidence of whatever promising players we had waiting in the wings.
Award-winning sports writer Brian McNelly Tweeted: "I worked with scores of managers in my four decades of reporting but Allardyce was easily the most conceited & charmless I ever dealt with." That's not what any side needs.
Originally I had decided to let the dust settle on the game before writing about it, but the last thing Allardyce needs is more time.
Sure, Hammers fans cutting up their season tickets might be exaggerating (besides, they replace broken tickets at Upton Park for a fiver) but not by much.
With not even a mention of the fans who'd travelled up to Nottingham on a Sunday to watch a game featuring a team so clearly set up to lose, Big Sam has lost whatever modicum of respect people still had for him. As one person on Twitter pointed out, even Di Canio apologised to fans when he was doing badly.
Arrogant, inept, callous, spiteful and truly out of his depth, Allardyce is now a man who knows he can't be touched because he's used up all the money in the pot and West Ham can't afford to sack him. Now he sits in the dugout, face like a burst bouncy castle, grabbing the roughly £56,000 a week he earns from dragging a proud club's name in the dirt then shoving it into the face of loyal fans.
He's bedded in. He knows that this'll be his last management hurrah before Championship near-obscurity.
If the bloke was really any kind of man he'd hold his hands up, refund the fans who travelled to Nottingham and walk away. He's not the man to keep us up so what use is he to anyone?
Follow Sam on Twitter, @SamDiss.