The main motivation behind West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady’s recent interview spree was an Olympic Stadium charm offensive, announcing that the club would mark their move to a new ground by launching the Premier League’s cheapest adult season ticket at £289.
However, the most interesting material wasn’t the depiction of the Irons as the division’s most fan-friendly side in addition to its fairest, but rather her utterances on the future of Sam Allardyce.
The divisive manager’s exit when his contract expires this summer is widely seen as inevitable due to the lack of enthusiasm with which he was kept on last May when he last at risk of the sack, his unpopularity with many fans and the apparent board disinterest in negotiating an extension.
Brady though insists that this is common practice, stating that: “We’ve had a number of contract negotiations with Sam and we have the same pattern: we wait until the end of the season, sit down, decide what we’re doing going forward and we renegotiate the terms, or not as the case may be.
“In each case, it’s been done after the season finishes. That’s how our board do it. Sam knows that. He’s been kept fully informed, so he’s not unsettled at all.”
While that could be dismissed as a stock answer, other extracts from other interviews that opposed the image of Allardyce as a dead man walking, for instance Brady’s assertion that he has met expectations:
“Sam has had a good season, we’ve had a few recent disappointing results – he would be more disappointed than anyone. But, overall, the relationship with Sam is good. He has done what we have asked of him.”
It was also intriguing that she indicated that the end-of-season review process is as much a chance for the 60-year-old to air his grievances as it is for her, David Sullivan and David Gold to critique him:
“We have to see what he wants to do going forwards. That’s how these things work. What sort of money does he want to invest in players? What positions does he want? Those are the conversation you always have, typically, at the end of the season and we make an arrangement going forwards.”
Others have observed that all this positive ticket-price news could be timed to get supporters on side before delivering news that won’t be greeted with such universal praise, like a new deal for Allardyce.
If the targets set last year are what will be determine the final verdict then a top-half finish is a necessity. The east Londoners have been tenth or higher since mid-October and are [1.62] to remain so, but Crystal Palace are a point behind them and Everton two, while they have won just one in 11.
A first away Premier League win in ten at QPR would give them a far firmer grip on tenth and begin to make the idea of Allardyce surviving another summer appear plausible, and is a [3.3] prospect.