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Big Sam back in the big time with West Ham

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Paul Fletcher | 19:27 UK time, Saturday, 19 May 2012

There might be something of a marriage of convenience about West Ham United and manager Sam Allardyce, but it all seemed pretty blissful at the final whistle of the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Saturday.

The sun broke through the clouds, thousands of bubbles floated lazily across the ground and everyone connected with the club were united in celebration of the club's immediate return to the Premier League.

The players hastily put on T-shirts proclaiming "nothing beats being back" - and nobody wearing claret and blue inside Wembley was arguing.

Perhaps more than anything else, West Ham's 2-1 victory over Blackpool brought with it a sense of relief.

Hammers skipper Kevin Nolan admitted afterwards that his wild, almost primal celebrations had been fuelled mainly by relief; by the fact that his team had dragged themselves over the line on an incredibly tense afternoon and thus made good on their aim of bouncing straight back.

It appeared to be the same story with Allardyce, as he exhaled deeply before analysing a final that his team could so easily have lost had Blackpool been more clinical in front of goal.

Ricardo Vaz Te scored the winner for West Ham with two minutes remaining on the clock. Photo: PA

The 57-year-old had spent the last few weeks talking about the importance of his team dealing with the pressure that comes with a play-off campaign, of handling their tag as favourites. After his team dismissed Cardiff 5-0 on aggregate in their play-off semi-final it seemed as though the Hammers were peaking perfectly.

But there were times at Wembley, as Blackpool's Thomas Ince repeatedly embarrassed Hammers left-back Matthew Taylor while fellow winger Matt Phillips and forward Stephen Dobbie were presented with great chances, when it looked as though Allardyce's words would ultimately have a hollow ring to them.

To be fair to Allardyce, he had never ducked the issue of what defeat would mean and openly admitted before the final that the success of West Ham's season would be dependent on securing promotion.

Certainly, a defeat for West Ham would have raised more questions than will now be the case at Blackpool following their failure. At Bloomfield Road there will be no debate about the future prospects for manager Ian Holloway, nor about the financial stability or otherwise at the defeated club.

Allardyce himself talked at length about the bruising implications the Football League's decision to adopt Financial Fair Play Regulations would have had at West Ham if they not won promotion.

"Promotion means an awful lot, because now I have not got to face the huge problem of financial fair play and how West Ham would cope with it," said Allardyce.

"It would have been devastating - according to the owners we would have had to decimate the wage bill by £10m, off-load players for little or no fee and still achieve what the fans want."

Instead, Allardyce can now plan for a return to the Premier League, 11 years after he guided Bolton to the top flight via a 3-0 play-off victory over Preston at the Millennium Stadium. That Trotters side have only just been relegated from the top flight and Allardyce is now keen to put in place at Upton Park the sort of steady progress he managed at Bolton before leaving for Newcastle in 2007.

"The task now is keeping West Ham in the Premier League," he said. "At Bolton we did that from virtually nothing, what we have got to do is sustainable, steady growth at West Ham next season."

Listening to Allardyce speak after his team's victory it was obvious that he is a manager who is still driven by a desire to silence his doubters.

"I have had to suffer two sackings - at Newcastle and Blackburn - that were harsh to say the least," he added. "They did damage my reputation but at end of the day I am still achieving great things at the clubs I work for."

But perhaps a little closer to home, Saturday could be the day when the Hammers boss formed an important and much-needed bond with the club's supporters.

Allardyce, a straight-talking, no-nonsense northerner, has not always appeared to be the most natural fit at a club whose fan base still talk about their club as the academy of football, a view that harks back to the trio of players they produced in England's 1966 World Cup-winning side.

And during the course of the season there have been times when it seemed as though Allardyce and the West Ham fan base would never see eye-to-eye, with the manager branding some supporters "deluded" after they chanted "we are West Ham United and we play on the floor" during the Hammers' 2-0 win at Peterborough in March.
But even if some think Allardyce's team are the equivalent of a backstreet bruiser, nobody can argue that he has not made good on his promise to win promotion, even if, as Holloway mused afterwards, it was achieved by the finest of margins.

Yes, there were times during the campaign when Allardyce's Hammers appeared to be overly defensive, grinding out results rather than entertaining. But they scored 81 goals in their 46 regular season fixtures and picked up 86 points on their way to finishing third.

They might have dropped too many points at home but they had the best away record in the division. They were resilient and difficult to beat. They proved at Wembley that they have guts and courage.

"My job is about thrilling fans, giving them what they want and entertaining them," added Allardyce. "We have given them a great victory and a great end to season, getting back to where we want to be."

Some supporters might feel that Allardyce is pushing his luck by suggesting his side are a side of entertainers, but in winning promotion on Saturday he might just have proved that he is not such a bad fit at West Ham after all.


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  • Comment number 1.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 2.

    Well done to West Ham and Sam Allardyce, I think Sam would have a smile on his face as his club is going the up way whilst Blackburn is going the other way, it would be even sweeter if the failed Blackburn players now have to abandon their sinking ship and latch on to the rising star (West Ham) for their premier league future.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good luck to Blackpool as they were better than us over the 90 minutes, but we were the better side over the 46 games and showed a resilience which is not what West Ham sides are known for.

    But those who criticise us for our style of football under Allardyce should drop the prejudice and watch some games. We haven't been pretty at times but never have we been 'long ball'. Efficient, effective, resilient. When could you last say that about West Ham?

  • Comment number 4.

    Well my team Bolton aren't in the Premier League any more but at least Bolton Wanderers MK II are. Seriously well done West Ham, and you have the best man in charge to keep you in the Premier League. Just a point though, contrary to popular belief Big Sam is not a Northerner. He's from Wolverhampton.

  • Comment number 5.

    To all those Allardyce haters - oh well...

  • Comment number 6.

    West Ham were lucky on the day and Blackpool deserve to be in the premier league I look foward to checking the weather as i have to look up every time i see one of Allardyce's team but the ability to finish is what truly mattered on the day. I predict a return to the Championship for West Ham with unproven at top level strikers and owners who are fantastic at making yoyos

  • Comment number 7.

    Great, let's all look forward to some hoofball next season.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Being in the top 2 for most of the season means its hard to argue against West Ham deserving to be promoted. However, there was a lot of arrogance that came with it that didn't endear them to fans of Championship teams.

  • Comment number 10.

    Can't argue with that. As a neutral I was rooting for Blackpool for their entertainment value but West Ham were clearly the better team this day and the third best team in the CCC over the course of the season, they've earned the right and good luck in the Prem. Say what you want about Allardyce but he gets results.

  • Comment number 11.

    Is Scott Dobie related to Stephen Dobbie in some way? Can you never get the mans name right, he's played in 3 consecutive play off finals and in the Premier league so it's not as if he's wandered in off the street.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm a Bolton fan, congrats Sam. When Sam joined bolton he first showed us how to avoid conceding goals late in games with a better mental focus. Then he introduced several things to get an extra few percentage points of performance via sports science, Tai Chi, personal training and menus, etc etc.

    West Ham fans might want the ball played on the floor all the time but I hope they'll accept Sam for giving them what they needed to win at Wembley. They had a horrible first half, but Big Sam teams can move on from that and do what they need to win.

  • Comment number 13.

    A sad result for Football having those arrogant people back in the PL. Oh well it will only be for one season I suspect.On the bright side easy 6 points for Villa.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Congratulations to West Ham on gaining promotion back to the Premiership where they deserve to be. I do feel for Blackpool though as they certainly played their part in a very entertaining game. As a Barnsley supporter however, I do feel aggrieved about the comments that Sam has resurrected Vaz Te's career. If Sam felt he was that good, why didn't he sign him before the start of the season when he was a free agent? I think Kieth Hill should take the plaudits for giving Vaz Te a chance, and for continuing his footballing education. Full marks to Vaz Te for siezing the opportunity and for putting himself in the frame, but as for Sam resurrecting his career? I'm sorry Sam, but you can't take the credit for that!

  • Comment number 16.

    Easy 6 points for Villa?? You guys are lucky to still be in the Premiership! Poor side, worse 'fans' and delusions of grandeur..

    Best of luck with your search for a manager.. I hear Pep's available. lol

  • Comment number 17.

    Naturally most people will be talking about the Champions League final, but as always the Championship playoff final was the most entertaining match of the year. I've never been in a situation when I support one of the teams in the final, but as a neutral I found it a fascinating game end-to-end throughout.

    Blackpool should have been clear with the amount of chances they had and I think they were perhaps slightly better in the match, but West Ham took the chances and that's what counts. In Tom Ince and Matt Phillips, Blackpool have two outstanding youngsters who could really spur them on to promotion next year. I think most neutrals would agree that it would be great to see Blackpool back in the Premier League.

    West Ham fans should be happy to have Allardyce in charge because they are very unlikely to be in trouble under him in the Premier League. They might want 'pretty' Football, but you would be joking to say that would be better than being in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 18.

    Wow, popular blog or what. Where's the blog about the worst team to win the European Cup ever.

  • Comment number 19.

    Well done to West Ham. Blackpool were the better team, but West Ham were better where it mattered - scoring.

    It'll be good to see Big Sam back in the EPL, but if West Ham play like they did yesterday they'll be right back down. A team less wasteful than Blackpool in front of goal (e.g. anyone other than Liverpool) would've been out of sight before half time.

    Hopefully Big Sam will fix that, and good luck to West Ham next season.

  • Comment number 20.

    Big Sam endured a lot of criticism during the last season. Yes there were time, (too many to be honest) where Hammers squandered leads and either drew or lost matches. Over a long season that is always going to happen. We have the best away record in the Championship this season, we have only ever been in the top three all season. I would rather have Big Sam in charge than some of the other questionable management teams in place at Upton Park over the last few seasons. We are up where we belong - we now just have to stay there!

  • Comment number 21.

    The idea that Big Sam's teams are long ball is ludicrous and lazy. I don't remember Jay Jay Okocha or Hierro suddenly becoming hoofers under him and I doubt cultured players like Noble and Collison are likely to either. It is a boring and very very lazy assertation and nowhere near the truth if you watch most WHUFC games from this season.

    We played really lovely football under Zola and it didn't work out. I'll take Sam any day. Very proud to have him at the club and I've never been bored by his teams.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think some of the criticism Sam has received this year has been unfair, and in fact if you look at all of his teams they have three fundamental things in common:
    1. they are organised and difficult to break down
    2. they are resilient, will never say die and work hard for each other
    3. they can express themselves, once they've earnt the right to play

    I remember Bolton being really hard to beat and dreading when West Ham played them. Once they got a couple of goals in front against a side they started spraying it about with a bit of swagger and players like Jay Jay Okocha provided some real flair. Sam got criticised by other managers because they didn't like the fact that his 'little' Bolton team would frustrate them.

    He has never had a massive budget but he has got tactical nous. I've seen West Ham destroy a number of teams in the Championship this year but only once they've earnt the right to play football. The majority of teams played for a draw against us, especially at Upton Park, next year team's will want to win and I think we'll have more chances as a result. Sam's approach is ruthlessly effective and West Ham fans who want him out are either stuck in the past or deluded.

    Personally, as a Hammer I prefer getting results. Thanks for getting us back in the Premier League Sam, and for the first time in a number of years I'm genuinely excited about the new season!

  • Comment number 23.

    West Ham to finish higher than Soton or Reading next season. Prime candidates for the bottom three spots, mixing it with QPR and Wigan if Martinez leaves.

  • Comment number 24.

    Disappointed that we didn't take the chances we had yesterday as I thought we were the better team. However, West Ham did and my congratulations to them on their promotion. It's fair to say that, in anyones ideal Premier League, there'd always be a place for West Ham.

    About Allardyce, you Hammers fans may be singing his praises now but, if you struggle next season - which to be honest is unlikely - you will be calling for his head. I remember him when he was in charge at Blackpool. I think we were ten points clear with five games to go in League 1 the season he was in charge. We blew it big style and ended up in the Play-Offs where after winning the first leg AWAY at Bradford 2-0, we somehow contrived to mess it up and lose 3-0 at home. Not surprisingly, Fat Sam was given his P45 soon afterwards.

    As for us, defeat hasn't killed us. If Ollie stays, which is very likely, and keeps the squad together, I see no reason why we can't do a Reading and go up automatically next season. Apart from ourselves, Birmingham, Bolton and probably Leicester and Boro, I can't see anyone else challenging.

  • Comment number 25.

    Well, I was one of those West Ham fans that welcomed Big Sam's arrival. Perhaps the fact that one of my daughters is a Bolton fan gave me more of an appreciation of Sam that most would have. Let's be honest, for all of the talk on here of West Ham being a 'big club', they are really a 'fairly big club'. I suspect that many supporters of other teams would love to be as rich as West Ham, but they are never going to compete with the really big clubs. Or, at least, will never do so without some mega-rich foreign investor - and we have been there and it was a disaster.

    So for a 'fairly big club', what you need is a solid wheeler-dealer who can keep the club comfortably in the Premier League, as Sam did for so long at Bolton. Better than that is not going to happen without the money to compete against the giant clubs for the big names. Which makes Sam about the perfect manager for me. OK, perhaps a solid wheeler-dealer whose style is more like the West Ham of old would be better. But then 'Arry is otherwise engaged.

  • Comment number 26.

    Congratulations to West Ham for buying their way out of the division. One of the biggest, if not the biggest budget and wage bill ever in the 2nd tier and they still needed the play-offs. Half of that team are only there for the money (esp. Nolan, why else would he drop a division so suddenly?).

    Yes Allardyce will probably re-establish them in the premier league, but that's all he'll do, probably fininshing lower mid-table for the next 10 years.

  • Comment number 27.

    Its a sad day for football. It goes to further the myth that the only way out of the championship it to hoof the ball into massive strikers. Fortunately, Reading, Southampton and (previously) Swansea have proved that playing football is just as effective.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm not totally converted to Sam Allardyce's style of play and I am a big Ian Holloway fan, but those who were watching closely yesterday will have noted that Blackpool hit an awful lot of long balls forward - only they had Kevin Phillips trying to get on the end of them, not Carlton Cole.

  • Comment number 29.

    Given Sam's constant moaning about the financial disparity between the likes of Chelsea and Man City and the clubs he manages, and that ludicrous claim that he could manage Real or Inter, I wonder if anyone else sees the irony of him scraping promotion out of the Championship with comfortably the richest team in the division

  • Comment number 30.

    Richard Morris, I take your point but those of us who grew up admiring West Ham for their style of play - to be honest, they're one of the few teams I would actually pay to watch - were concerned when Fatty Arbuckle took over. Yes, he keeps teams up in the Prem and Blackburn were absolutely stupid to sack him but I did not think he and West Ham were a good fit.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well done to West Ham...they did what they had to do and are back in the Premier League.

    Whilst their method of play isn't quite as 'agricultural' as the critics make out, I can't say that I'm looking forward to West Ham versus Stoke next season, if I'm honest.......sorry....

  • Comment number 32.

    As a neutral, I wanted Blackpool to go up, but fair play to West Ham. But please, please please stop this ridiculous and frankly embarrassing 'World Cup Winners '66' self congratulatory nonsense. Are you really that desperate?

    Just enjoy your promotion and good luck next season.

  • Comment number 33.


    LOL when was the last time villa got an easy 6 points. Deluded mate.

  • Comment number 34.

    Blackpool were unlucky for sure but West Ham over the course of 49 games deserved it. They were getting pressure put on them from all angles for this game and it was a bit like the Man City v QPR game. They struggled to play freely under that pressure.

    But now they have won, they will not care one bit.

    I think next year they need:

    A goalkeeper if Green dosen't sign a new contract
    A decent left back
    A defensive midfielder
    Couple of wingers
    A striker who can play upfront on his own. Cole's knee's cannot be relied on.

    I think they will line up something like this:




    Lee Chung Yong/Jarvis
    Vaz te

    Cole/Fletcher (Wolves)

  • Comment number 35.

    Sam Allardyce is not a Northerner.

    He's from Dudley - he's a Midlander.

  • Comment number 36.

    Big Sam always reminds me of John Prescott, but I digress.

    Anyway what seems to have happened here is that Blackburn are one of the clubs to have gone down, and West Ham are one of the clubs that will go up.

  • Comment number 37.

    "I have had to suffer two sackings - at Newcastle and Blackburn - that were harsh to say the least," he added.

    Hahaha. As a Newcastle fan, I can safely say that the football we played under Allardyce was the worst in living memory, and while the sacking appeared harsh (as we were 11th at the time), we were also 5 points from 20th, it was a tight table that year!!

    I genuinely believe we would have been relegated that very season if he had stayed. (and the reason we were relegated the next season was thanks to his overpaid, plodding signings, Alan Smith, Geremi et al).

    The man is a walking disaster and I feel sorry for West Ham fans who have to watch the tripe his teams dish up.

    From a Newcastle fan: Sam you're a deluded fool. Now go and manage Real Madrid.

  • Comment number 38.

    It is ridiculous to criticise the use of the long ball. The best teams use a mixture of clever passing and the occasional long ball. Some of the best ever players, such as Glen Hoddle, were experts at the killer long ball. Big Sam has always used a mixture and it has been effective and enjoyable to watch. And if you want results, just getting the ball in the "mixer" from time to time works. How else do Stoke survive?

    My only question about Sam's tactics yesterday was why he started with Matt Taylor marking Ince. It worked much better with a proper left back on the job.

    Anyway, Sam has the last laugh, watching the ludicrous Blackburn, who sacked him for no reason, passing in the down lift as West Ham go up!

  • Comment number 39.

    Well all the "neutrals" in Preston are delighted today. West Ham were better over the season, and Blackpool are a tiny club with a poor away following who don't deserve to grace Div 4. They'll soon be back where they belong (ie below us) when Ollie gets a better job offer. The Only Way Is Down. Up the Whites!

  • Comment number 40.

    4. At 21:47 19th May 2012, Paul in Bolton wrote:
    ... Just a point though, contrary to popular belief Big Sam is not a Northerner. He's from Wolverhampton.
    's norf of Watford, innit?

  • Comment number 41.

    35. At 15:08 20th May 2012, KingLaursen - Houllier Out Capello Out wrote:
    Sam Allardyce is not a Northerner.

    He's from Dudley - he's a Midlander.
    To a cockney, the Midlands is the north, just as to Newcastle fans, someone born in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, is a cockney.

  • Comment number 42.

    Whenever I read most of the posts on a football blog it continues to emphasise my percetion that the average so-called football fan is in reality a small minded, mean spirited and often bitter and twisted hateful neanderthal. Some of the hate filled remarks directed at Sam are disgraceful. And why the bile and venom directed at WHU ? These people need to get a real life and be reminded that football is just a game, not life itself. Three score years and ten. if you are lucky, and then it's over. What price then whether it's the PL or the Championship ? And everyone's an expert. . And talk of WH being arrogant. What exactly does that mean ? What would you prefer, humble losers ? So you think that Blackpool was the best team on the day. But the result represented WH superiority over the season - eleven points clear and a 8-1 aggregate. The table doesn't lie. Nor the result - 2-1. And SA is a human being and deserves to be treated with respect. Being a football fan doesn't entitle you to spew your nasty poisonous about at him because you lead a probably meaningless mediocre life only lightened by watching football. Well done Sam and the Hammers.

  • Comment number 43.

    @Warren Crawford

    "Well all the "neutrals" in Preston are delighted today. West Ham were better over the season, and Blackpool are a tiny club with a poor away following who don't deserve to grace Div 4. They'll soon be back where they belong (ie below us) when Ollie gets a better job offer. The Only Way Is Down. Up the Whites!"

    So says a fan of a club in League 1 ie below us with a manager whom the fans and players hate. And a chairman... Well, it's Peter Ridsdale, isn't it? And as for the attendances, three men and a dog, isn't it? 35,000 we took to Wembley and we regularly take over a thousand to away games.

    Preston North End - a small club in a small town near Blackpool...

  • Comment number 44.

    @ Revelation

    Tell me, has Allardyce ever managed your club? Then you'll understand all the bile in his direction.

    It is you that needs to stop your nasty comments. If you think I'm a neanderthal then you would be sorely mistaken.

  • Comment number 45.

    44.At 19:28 20th May 2012, Seaside_Girl wrote:
    @ Revelation

    Tell me, has Allardyce ever managed your club? Then you'll understand all the bile in his direction.

    It is you that needs to stop your nasty comments. If you think I'm a neanderthal then you would be sorely mistaken
    If the cap fits. Touched a nerve have I ?

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.


    I think you need to learn some manners...

    First of all, I am a successful businesswoman. I own my own house and car outright. I can afford a season ticket for Blackpool FC. I can afford to take holidays a few times a year. I have a degree.

    Not bad for a "neanderthal", isn't it?

  • Comment number 48.

    47.At 19:55 20th May 2012, Seaside_Girl wrote:
    Not bad for a "neanderthal", isn't it?

    Obviously not a degree in English grammar.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hello. Happy Christmas.

    Seems about all anyone can say at the moment....

  • Comment number 54.

    #43 'Preston North End - a small club in a small town near Blackpool...'

    Sorry - where's Blackpool again?

  • Comment number 55.


    For someone who claims to be so clever, it's evident you don't know the geography of your own country...

  • Comment number 56.

    Perhaps the most frustrating part of yesterday was the fact that Blackpool couldn't even sell out their 30,000 or so allocation, giving 500 already to West Ham we assumed they were sold out other than those. Alas no, West Ham fans who desperately tried to get tickets but were unsucessful instead were confronted with looking at the scores of empty seats on the TV. They deserve not to be in top flight just for that.

  • Comment number 57.

    Aggregate score - 2011/12 Championship season: West Ham 10 - Blackpool 2

  • Comment number 58.

    It's not about the long ball or the short ball, it's about the right ball.

    Not a big fan of how West Ham are playing under Big Sam, but let's be honest - playing 'the West Ham way' hasn't won us anything in my lifetime. Time for a change, heck if we could defend for toffee for a season I'd be happy with a whole bunch of 0-0s!

    Onward & upwards - perhaps losing the pressure of being one of the favourites next season will help some of the talent at West Ham really blossom.

  • Comment number 59.

    Do your homework please. Allardyce is not a "Northerner", he is from the midlands, that is all!

  • Comment number 60.


    Get over yourself. A few facts for you to counteract your nonsense.

    1. West Ham's average attendance is more than twice ours. Why? They have a bigger ground.

    2. Ever heard of general sale? Because tickets went on general sale there is a chance they would end up in the wrong hands. Also, there is no evidence we sent 500 tickets back to West Ham. They would have gone back to the Football League first.

    3. This is our THIRD Wembley final in five years. When was the last time West Ham made it to Wembley? I'll give you a clue. Charles and Diana were married that year...

    4. Blackpool is an area of high unemployment. There are those who couldn't afford to go so watched it on the telly.

    5. We fully deserve to be in the Premier League. When we went up in 2010, we got there on merit. Remember Wimbledon when they were in the Prem? Getting gates of only 3,000? Didn't they deserve to be in the Prem?

    When you know what you're talking about, come and speak to me then. OK?


    Did you watch the match? We were the better team. Shows what you know about football...

  • Comment number 61.

    Will the moderators please stop moderating Seaside_Girl: I am enjoying her rants!

  • Comment number 62.

    Now then - and many thanks for all your thoughts.

    Yep, Big Sam is from Dudley, but he has lived in Bolton for the last 30 years, well, apart from 10 months in a flat in Canary Wharf.

    Reflecting back on the final, the more I think about it, the more I think Blackpool can consider themselves very unfortunate. Sometimes it is easier to come to terms with defeat when you have been beaten fair and square. The Seasiders face the pain of a summer reflecting on missed chances.

    As for West Ham - they can now think in terms of team strengthening and top-flight consolidation under the solid leadership of Big Sam............

  • Comment number 63.

    I think you'll find they are not rants but attempts to show some people up who post on here for what they are...

  • Comment number 64.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 65.

    @60 "3. This is our THIRD Wembley final in five years. When was the last time West Ham made it to Wembley? I'll give you a clue. Charles and Diana were married that year..."

    A bit pedantic perhaps given that West Ham were seconds away from winning the FA Cup in 2006 all be it at the Millenium Stadium. When did Blackpool last make the FA Cup final? When did they last have a decent run in the top division? Back in the days of pig bladders and toothless "greats" with comb overs to rival Gregor Fisher in the Hamlet ad's.

    There's no great honour in "cup final appearances" with the play-offs. Blackpool were 5th this season and 6th two years ago. It's great entertainment and a money spinner for TV but it's hardly fair that a team finishing third doesn't get automatic promotion. By the laws of the game everyone is in the same boat so yes, going up through the play-offs is how it's done but by merit.....??? With so much money at stake it seems very unfair in my eyes that a team finishing third should have to play a team 11pts below them in a £40M game.

    Well done West Ham - over the season they 100% deserve to be promoted.

  • Comment number 66.


    The EPL Coffin? Forgive me for asking but where were the Spanish giants on Saturday night? Oh yeah, at home watching the 6th best team in the EPL lifting the Champions League trophy :)

  • Comment number 67.


    Aye, we were very unlucky but, if you don't take your chances, you will lose. We were the better team. That said, if we keep Ollie and the current squad together, I see no reason why we can't do a Reading and go up automatically.

    As for West Ham, those who knock Fat Sam's style would do well to remember on thing. He keeps teams in the Premier League. Blackburn Rovers dropped an almighty clanger the day they sacked him and isn't it ironic that Allardyce passes them as his team goes up and Rovers go down...?

  • Comment number 68.

    Media say Allardyce plays long ball so Allardyce plays long ball.

    I was at the game Blackpool also hit a fair share of "long" balls up to super kev?

    And filling the ground in EPL is easy (unless you are wigan) i've seen empty seats at championship games for Blackpool??

    West ham havent played at Wembley because wembley was inactive...Fa Cup final 2x play offs in last 10 years all in cardiff so that was silly comment wasnt it?

    I digress we finished 3rd 11pts ahead beat blackpool 3 times this season but they were unlucky...sheesh

  • Comment number 69.

    Burnley fan in peace Blackpool fans putting rivaly to one side i saw the final on TV on Saturday you should have gone up the football Holloway has your team playing is top class when you beat my team 4-0 before the play-offs i thought you could win them again. The top flight deserves teams who play the game the way it should be played. Not Hoofball tactics that BFS employs at West Ham, i think West Ham struggle next year with those tactics sorry Hammers fans if you gonna stay up next term BFS needs to learn to get them playing the West Ham style of good football.

  • Comment number 70.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 71.

    @65 Wheely77

    Yep - contentious, the whole play-off scenario, isn't it? Glad I'm not a Wrexham fan!

  • Comment number 72.


    Pedantic? OK. So West Ham finished third. They knew the rules at the start of the season and with the squad they've got should really have gone up as Champions.


    Tell me where I said West Ham play long ball? Also, empty seats at Blackpool? The East Stand is where you'll find some empty seats. That is because there is netting across them to seperate the away fans... D'oh!

    No, it wasn't a silly comment. The fact is since 1981, we have been to Wembley - and Cardiff as a matter of fact - more times than West Ham. Six Play-Off Finals and two LDV Vans Finals. Oh, and before you mouth off, they were the finals of a cup competition just like the FA Cup. Get your facts right!

    And obviously you weren't watching the same match as I was. Yes, you beat us twice but Birmingham took 4 points off us over the regular season and yet we beat them in the Play-Offs...

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 72

    You can be in as many Johnstones Paint finals as you like, it is us irons who will be gracing Old Trafford and Anfield next year whilst you bore the Championship by playing keep ball on the edge of the box, getting frustrated and playing long balls to 5ft zero Kevin Phillips!

  • Comment number 74.

    #69 & 70

    Same answer to both of you - there is no rule that says football has to be played in a certain style. This really annoys the crap out of me. It's not all about attacking and it's not all about playing the ball on the deck. Yes, it's good to watch but playing a strong defensive game takes just as much skill. There's no such thing as anti-football. If Barcelona were so good then they would be able to cope with a team setting up to keep them out and frustrate them, oh, and they'd be able to hold on to a 2-0 lead that would have got them to the final. If Blackpool's football is so much better than West Ham's then why did they lose three out of three games against them this year?

    Not every team has the necessary skill to play the most attractive football so they play to their strengths.

  • Comment number 75.

    @ Seaside Girl

    1. West Ham's average attendance is more than twice ours. Why? They have a bigger ground.... So Why didn't you use up your full allocation of tickets and return 7,000 then. Why were there empty seats your end. Don't think you would have attendances like West Hams if you doubled your ground size then.

    3. This is our THIRD Wembley final in five years. When was the last time West Ham made it to Wembley? I'll give you a clue. Charles and Diana were married that year... Wembley visits for play off final is hardly an achievement. Also, FA cup final in 2006 but Wembley was being rebuilt.

    4. Blackpool is an area of high unemployment. There are those who couldn't afford to go so watched it on the telly...... Sorry, I forgot the street of the East End were paved in gold.

    5. We fully deserve to be in the Premier League. When we went up in 2010, we got there on merit. Remember Wimbledon when they were in the Prem? Getting gates of only 3,000? Didn't they deserve to be in the Prem?.... Yeah you did, and west ham are there on merit this time.

  • Comment number 76.

    OH only going back to 1981 to have the statistics favour you? I stated i felt you were the better team over the 90 but the gap wasnt as massive it seems the Vaz Te missed sitter at 1-0 him hitting the side netting Nolan hitting the bar Cole's effort well saved have been swept over to make it look more one sided than it was.

    I actually like the Blackpool Style and Ian Holloway is tremendous value. I'm also going to say i hope you go up next season and good luck was great banter outside the ground great set of fans with some interesting attire!

  • Comment number 77.

    Seaside Girl :) Sorry, I have to smile. LDV Vans Finals - I take it all back then. I'm sure West Ham supporter's world wide wish they were in the Football League division 1 or 2 so they could have played in this competition. The FA Cup final just fails to generate the same excitement does it not!!

    As for finishing as champions with their squad. If everything in football was so black and white it would be a boring old game. I agree however that they did, like everyone else, know the rules. I just think that as the game has become more lucrative the reward should be there for the teams that finish third in what is a hugely competitive and tough division.

  • Comment number 78.

    Looks like Baptiste is another bitter tangerine!

  • Comment number 79.

    lol, I didn't realise she was referring to LDV vans finals. Hilarious.

  • Comment number 80.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 81.

    Haaa slow day patches?

    Are you just bitter that the team near you didnt make the play offs?

    Sure Hull will be ok next year

  • Comment number 82.

    Baptiste's statement was riddled with flawed points. Just liek Evatts before the game. Crying won't get them promoted, if they don't like it then maybe they should finish in the top two... oh yeah sorry, not able to do that. Just sneak in and hope for a golden ticket. Well don't be bitter when you lose to a team that beat you 10-2 on aggregate and 11 odd points clear of you.

  • Comment number 83.


    Illogical, more like. Did you lot finish in the Top 2? With the side you possess and the manager you have? No. So that's why you ended up in the Play-Offs. Doesn't matter if you beat us twice. The rules clearly state that only the top 2 go up automatically and third to sixth compete in the Play-Offs.

    You may knock the LDV/Johnstone's Paint etc but it does represent a Wembley final. And just ONE Cup Final in thirty years is not something to boast about.

    As for your comments on my post, well, they're just infantile. Granted Blackpool's fan base is not as big as West Ham's but, when we were in the Prem, every single home game was sold out. If we had a bigger ground, no doubt we would fill that too. Also, I have lived and worked in the East End. I know damn well how worse off it is compared to other areas of London. Thirdly, if you take in the fact of how much it costs to get down from the Fylde to London, it is a very expensive day out. Google the train and coach fares. Take into account petrol costs. All you lot had to do was get on the Tube.

    We play long-ball? I take it you didn't watch the whole match where, at times, you didn't even get a kick!
    Because of your comments, I look forward to seeing you getting stuffed at Old Trafford, Anfield, The Ethiad, The Emirates etc. And we will say hello as we pass you on the way up...

  • Comment number 84.


    And can you point out what those supposed flaws Alex is supposed to have made in his comment? And Ian's as well? Hmmmm?

  • Comment number 85.

    Well done Hammers ...we deserved it on the question.... Why was Vaz Te in the changing room all on his own when everyone else was on the pitch celebrating.....He just scored the winner ?? ...Thoughts ?

  • Comment number 86.

    Good point Seaside_girl I am a West Ham fan...atic but I am a realist...there were times we were over ran and if you had been more clinical you could have been out of sight ...BUT ...we took the chances that's all....I wish you luck genuinely next year and look forward to a premier day out the following season along the golden mile !!

  • Comment number 87.

    It seems to me there are people on here who don't like the fact "little" Blackpool nearly got into the Prem once again.

    Get over yourselves!

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Thank you, Hammer4life.

    You would be most welcome if you come up this way again. I don't think you'll go down - Fat Sam will guarantee you Premier League football - so it'll have to be the cups or the season after next.

  • Comment number 91.

    Oh, look it's Revelation!

    What an infantile, ignorant comment! My business is no concern of yours and my holidays are taken in places like the Caribbean and Florida ie nowhere near Morecambe. Mind, you don't know where Morecambe is, never mind Florida...

    Considering English is NOT my first language - Flemish is - I think I speak and write it better than you...

  • Comment number 92.

    Seaside girl. Stop putting words in my mouth. I wasn't complaining about the rules, play offs are play offs, that's fine. Finish 3rd to 6th, that's what you have to do. So I'm not sure what your point is.

    If you want to bang on about Wembley appearances then we would have had 5 in 7 years had wembley not been being re-built. Play off final 04 (v palace) and again 05 (Preston) 2006 FA Cup final semi vs Middlesborough, Final against Liverpool and again this past weekend.

    Tell you what, when we were at the Millenium stadium for those games we sold our ticket allocation then too.

    You're probably right, we will lose those games, after all they are some of the biggest clubs in the world you named there. Surely one of the main reasons for getting promoted to the best league in the world to see your team play at venues like that. The same venues you wanted to see Blackpool at. Fancy our chances at a lot of other grounds though and at upton park.

    It's a shame you want to see west ham lose and get relegated. I on the other hand will like to see Blackpool promoted next season as I like your manager, the way you play and your fans.

  • Comment number 93.

    Glad Hammers won promotion, if only because they finished 3rd in table, just look at Div 2 - 6th and 7th in table in final to decide, similar in Conference with York getting promotion after finishing 15 points behind 3rd place.
    The old adage of cream rising to the top of a whole season gets devalued by play offs for the sake of money with mini cup competition where one off surprise results often happen.

  • Comment number 94.

    Seaside Girl - where do you see Blackpool finishing next year? I know West Ham were stating that if they hadn't gone up they'd need to lose £10M from the wage bill before the financial fair play rules kick in. For them, I think it was the be all and end all regardless of how they played throughout the season. I don't know a thing about Blackpool's finances but as they were relegated last year too are they in the same boat or were they in a better state of affairs financially?

    This is what worries me about the play-off set up. You can pour money into a club aiming for a top 6 finish but it's such a tight league that if you don't get up you're in trouble. Cardiff spring to mind as an example.

  • Comment number 95.

    Lets look at the actual fact here rather than all jumping aboard the 'Big Sam plays long ball' bandwagon.

    In the play-off final Dobbie's effort which hit the post was from a long ball (played from own half) and Blackpools goal came from a similar long ball, if anything even longer. Apart from that i think Blackpool maybe only had one chance that was actually crafted well.

    West hams 2 goals came from an angled through ball and a rebound (initial chance not from a long ball either). Then there was Nolans volley which hit the bar from a cross, and Gilks' save from Cole, once again not a long ball.

    Thats the long ball myth gone.

    Then theres the being vastly outplayed, well according to the BBC the posession stats were 52% Blackpool 48% West Ham, thats pretty close to being even and the shots were 14 to B'pool and 12 to West Ham, once again hardly one sided. West Ham had slightly more corners too. Overall fairly even then, sometimes i wonder if people actually watch the game or just rely on stereotypes and prejudice when forming their deciscions on what happened in a match.

    Also as far as the ticket situation goes, I'm glad Blackpool didn't go up because they couldnt even sell out their allocation for the play-off final. Fair enough they sold it out the previous time they were in the final and then sold out their premiership games but the fact that they didn't this time to me says that the fans have become bored nd had Blackpool gone up maybe they wouldn't have sold out in the Prem either due to this boredom? Just not as special second time round, eh?

    Overall though west ham played 3 against Blackpool this season, won 3, scored 10, conceded 2. Can't argue with that.

  • Comment number 96.

    80.At 12:18 21st May 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    Yes, there's no rule against playing dire, defensive, hoofball football.

    Football is a results based industry and don't let anyone tell you any different. What you normally find is that supporters of those teams who currently possess good passing teams preach to everyone else that this is the way the game should be played and anything else is just an abomination. The reality is that very few teams anywhere play a consistent "eye catching" game and most play a mixture. The teams who win trophies normally play both throughout the campaign. The "great to watch teams" often end up winning nothing (ie) Arsenal. Refusal to accept that a team can play good football without it being good to watch is ignorant. A horse wouldn't be out to stud long if it looked the business but was firing blanks would it?

  • Comment number 97.

    Right. I do not want to see West Ham go down. I have had a soft spot for them since the days of François Van der Elst (ask your Dads). Also, they won't go down. Fat Sam will see to that. I can see them being lower mid-table but in no serious danger of relegation.

    As for Blackpool, we are a financially stable club. Say what you like about the Oystons, and I have given them some serious hammer on these and other pages, but they do not want to see us go the same way as Portsmouth or Rangers. That said, it's about Karl Oyston opened the chequebook a little and give Ollie money to spend to keep the squad together and a few additions. If that happens there is no reason why we can't storm the Championship next season.

    Lee_Irons. I was actually at Wembley on Saturday and I can tell you you were watching a different game. There were times when your lot couldn't even get a kick. I agree you didn't play hoof-ball but what have the West Ham fans been saying? Is it something like "we play it on the floor"? And we can mix it as well if required.

    As for your comment, "I'm glad Blackpool didn't go up". What a petty comment! The reason we didn't sell out is this: Blackpool is an area of high unemployment. You take into account how much it costs for a Wembley ticket and, more importantly, how much it costs to get down there from our neck of the woods and it is quite a lot of money. The majority of you Hammers only had to take the Tube.

  • Comment number 98.

    #91 seaside girl 'Considering English is NOT my first language - Flemish is - I think I speak and write it better than you...'

    Do us a favour and stick to Flemish then, because then we won't have to wade through the nonsense you type. You seem to think that because you 'own a business' (hairdresser?), 'have a degree' and 'own a car' you are somehow superior to everyone else here. In practice I can assure you many of us also own businesses, cars, houses and have degrees and (as I posted before but as it later got pulled you presumably reported it because you didn't like it) it matters not a jot. You seem to think you can trot that lot out and somehow that makes you cleverer than others. People here are judged on what they say and how well they argue a case, on both scores you are pretty near the bottom.

    And re. #54/55 knowing where Blackpool is - I'm afraid I don't know the Flemish for 'irony' (you were at the time insulting somebody for coming from Preston as it was just a 'place near Blackpool') but it's nothing to do with getting creases out of your clothes if that helps you along at all in understanding the post.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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