Poor Andre Villas-Boas was relieved of his duties as Tottenham Hotspur manager yesterday. The 36-year old became the 5th Premier League manager to be shown the door this season and we have not even reached the midpoint of the campaign yet!
However, Villas-Boas’ dismissal should not come as a surprise, as the Premier League is a cruel place and such is the harsh reality for managers these days. Even if there is a small sequence of poor results, the press and the fans are readily available to jump on the bandwagon of vilifying the man in charge, which ultimately forces the hand of the impatient owners. With so much at stake financially, the lifespan of a Premier League manager is getting shorter every year.
With AVB gone, West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has been touted as the next manager expected to be in the firing line. It might seem absurd to sack a man who has helped the club to promotion and then a top ten finish in successive seasons. In addition, Big Sam is one of the most experienced managers in the league, who has a great record of assembling teams which are consistently able to punch above their weight.
However, there are various factors currently playing against the 59-year old, which may prompt West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold to pull the trigger.
Big Sam was never really a popular choice with the fans at the Boleyn Ground when he was appointed two years ago. Although brilliantly effective, Sam’s direct methods were thought to be against the philosophy of the club who prided themselves in playing beautiful football.
When Allardyce was able to get the results, the fans could not ask for his head, but with the Hammers performing so woefully at the moment, the West Ham United faithful will feel entitled to make a case against the manager.
Allardyce was also known for his astuteness in the market and getting value for money. He made inspired signings such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo for virtually nothing, which turned Bolton Wanderers from Premier League basement club to European hopefuls. His record with Blackburn Rovers in transfer market on a shoestring budget was also exemplary.
But, when Sam has been provided with the luxury to spend, he has not done justice to his reputation in the transfer market any good. While at Newcastle United, Big Sam brought in players who never really justified their price tags and at West Ham United, spending £15 million on an injury prone Andy Carroll who scored only 7 goals last season seemed to contradict the fact that Allardyce gets value for money in the market. Matt Jarvis and Modibo Maiga are also prime examples of money not well spent by the manager.
West Ham United currently have one of the best defensive records in the league, having kept clean sheets in half of their fixtures so far, but the their lack of firepower up front has proven to be their Achilles heel. Again, Allardyce has to take accountability for putting all his eggs in the Andy Carroll basket and failing to sign a backup to the Englishman.
Sam Allardyce is undoubtedly a very good manager and deserves more time due to his track record. However, he has made some uncharacteristic errors which has left the Hammers counting the costs and if results do not improve dramatically over the next few weeks then it would not be a surprise to see the axe falling down on Big Sam.