Big Sam arrives at the Boleyn
Sam Allardyce took his first press conference since becoming West Ham manager today. Here’s what he had to say, courtesy of the club’s official site.
Sam, to start, how do you plan to achieve promotion this season?
“Without sounding too arrogant, I think that my experience and my expertise as a manager that I’ve gained, particularly in the Premier League over the last ten years, will help me to bring the club together, to get a team spirit and a togetherness that is going to achieve the ultimate – to get promotion back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
“As difficult a task as that is going to be, I think it can be achieved. At a club the size of West Ham, it needs to be done as quickly as possible because the long-term goal is the Olympic Stadium and the team must be back in the Premier League when it is going to move into that great venue.
“So, I’ve got to instil a bit of discipline, a little bit of magic and creativity and certainly a bond between the players and the staff to drive ourselves on through what is a very difficult season trying to get into the Premier League. Lots of big teams are spending lots of money aside from ourselves to try to achieve that goal.
“It won’t be an easy task. There are 46 very difficult games, but last year we saw QPR and Norwich achieve it and we’re hoping to do the same.
“I’ve got to try to really get rid of the hangover that relegation brings to a football club and transform that as quickly as I possibly can into a positive mental attitude.”
Have you spoken to the players about their futures?
“Not just yet. They are all on holiday and will come back next week.
“I’ve talked to some of the younger players – Jack Collison and James Tomkins – this morning and it was great to see them in and around the training ground at this stage of the season. They could still be on holiday, as most are.
“I think when we all get together, I’ve got an awful lot to sort out in terms of pre-season training, staffing and relocating myself. I’m going to try to do that before the players get back and speak to them on an individual and a group basis and set out some goals, really, and what we need to achieve.
“I think we’ll look at moving some players on because their desire is to want to play in the Premier League. From a financial point of view, it suits us as well to lose that financial commitment because the drastic loss in revenue is what we all have to face at West Ham, first and foremost.
“Certainly the owners have got to really back-up with their own money to try to get us back into the Premier League. Some of the cuts we have to make will have to come and some have already been made, of course, because some of the players have already left.
“We will try to get as best a squad as we possibly can.
“On a positive note, we’ve signed on Abdoulaye Faye and Kevin Nolan already, which are good positive moves and, like I said, I think there are still some very good young and experienced players at the football club.
“If we all want to work together and go in the right direction, we can give it our best shot and hopefully that will be good enough next season.”
How many players will have to leave?
“The speculation is probably around Carlton Cole, Robert Green and Scott Parker. At the moment, we haven’t had any concrete bids for any of those players.
“Other than them, there is no rush to sell anybody else.
“Thomas Hitzlsperger has already left, as far as I’m concerned. He had his contract terminated and that position has moved on.”
There have been comments about the possible style of play you will employ and whether it will fit in with the ‘West Ham way’. What do you have to say about those comments?
“I thought that question would have come first! We will be OK. When did West Ham last play the ‘West Ham way?’. It can’t be the ‘West Ham way’ if we got relegated.
“The club has been up and down like a yo-yo so I don’t see the fans as thinking of that as playing the ‘West Ham way’.
“The ‘West Ham way’ is about winning football matches and the enjoyment of winning. The fans are in the game to watch winning football and I’m in the game to play winning football and to entertain the public, and that’s what I do.
“Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve entertained the public, regardless of the perception. The perception from the media is that ‘Sam Allardyce plays long ball’ but that’s only a perception. Football is run on perception today.”
Allardyce holds up the new shirt