West Ham United. The bloody Hammers. What an up and down (mainly down) few years we've had to endure as supporters of the club. It's been enjoyable at times with some memorable wins along the way, most notably in recent campaigns the play-off win, and a few scalps at Upton Park in the league. Despite those undoubtedly memorable occasions, it truth, it's been fairly underwhelming.
With a manager seen by most as a long ball specialist and someone who demands his sides to be physical and 'in your face', the critics will always pounce when a dodgy patch arrives. It's a style of football disliked by many, even though it's proving to be very effective under Sam Allardyce, with the club seeming to find some much needed stability in recent years.
Allardyce has had it his whole career wherever he's been. People enjoy slating him. It's almost frowned upon if you don't, especially by the hipster community and those who fail to acknowledge that not all sides can play tiki taka, or afford to sign players that'll play reverse passes with their eyes closed.
With owners David Gold and David Sullivan at the helm, we aren't full of money like many Premier League sides so it'll always be tough for us to compete at the top end of the table, but in Allardyce we have the perfect man for what is a fairly tricky job, especially in regards to the transfer kitty.
Big Sam knows how to get the best out of his players. He signs players who'll fight for the cause. Hissy fits aren't tolerated, which is why Ravel Morrison is on the way out and why Kevin Nolan was publicly slated after his poor discipline a few weeks back, amongst other things. He says it how it is and doesn't take any rubbish. Even Jose Mourinho was 'out-tacticed' by Big Sam! No, in all seriousness, he conducts himself extremely well. I look around the Premier League and see managers behaving with a lot less dignity.
Personally, the fact the style of football is considered dull by many doesn't bother me. The stability that comes with it outweighs any negative you can come up with. I think Gold and Sullivan feel exactly the same way, which is why they've resisted the blatant temptation to sack Sam Allardyce in the past. He's a man who'll do a steady job, get results, command respect and demand desire.
Big Sam has stabilised West Ham. For that, at this moment in time, he deserves a lot more respect than he's getting.
By Phil Carker - West Ham fan