Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Iain Dale's Interview with David Sullivan

Iain Dale has managed to get a great interview with David Sullivan. It is one of the best I have read with a football chairman. Here is talking about why O'Neill did not become manager:


It’s very hard to talk about third parties, but we were very close to having another manager come, who I can’t name for obvious reasons. We had 25 hours of meetings with that manager. Twenty-five hours! At every meeting, that manager said to us: “I will be the next manager of West Ham United”. And we kept saying: “When?” Had he come, we would have changed manager. The problem came when he finally said he wasn’t going to come until the summer, and only if we stayed up. At that point, we thought, probably wrongly, it was too late to bring somebody else in. The obvious alternative was Sam at the point, but I think that would have been unacceptable to the supporters last January. Whilst it was acceptable in May, Sam wasn’t the first choice in January. He was the backup choice. David [Gold] would have changed for the first choice manager, but he was unhappy to change for the second choice manager, and I didn’t feel strong enough to have a row about it. It was a very marginal decision. Whether Sam would have kept us up, who knows? To me there were enough good players to keep us up. Just with Demba Ba and Scott Parker – those two alone should have kept us up.

I agree with his comments aboout Scott Parker:

This might not please many people, but if you look at Scott Parker’s performance in the first five games of this season. To me, it didn’t look like he was doing the tackling you’d normally expect him to do. He was running about, he was doing OK but he wasn’t doing the tackling we know he can do do, because he knew that the one thing that would stop a move for him would be an injury. To me it looked like he didn’t want to be there. He told us he didn’t want to be there. He didn’t want to play for the club. In the nicest possible way, he said “I’ve given you my all for the last 3, 4, 5 years, you owe it to me to let me go”. Now there is an argument that he’s right. There’s no player who has given more for the club in recent years, so to make him stay against his wishes… He was protecting himself either consciously or subconsciously. If you want to be kind, it was subconscious. If you want to be unkind, he was consciously protecting himself. His performances in those games were not the Scott Parker we know and I think most supporters could see that. He’s gone to Spurs and he is back to his old self. That’s football, unfortunately. I’ll be honest with you, in his defence he didn’t go to Spurs for any more money. He was the highest paid player at West Ham. All they did was add a year to his contract, so it wasn’t a financial thing with him, it was a football thing.

Monday, 6 February 2012

West Ham Youth Team

Interesting article in today's Guardian about the current West Ham youth team. On 15th February he will oversee West Ham United's under-18 side in a fifth-round FA Youth Cup tie against Chelsea. According to Tony Carr, the team are not yet on a level with the 1999 class, headed by Joe Cole and Michael Carrick, who won the competition; or the Frank Lampard-Rio Ferdinand crop who lost the 1996 final to Liverpool, but they are not far behind.

Carr believes that, in Sam Allardyce, West Ham have a manager who can see the line from youth to senior player and who understands the value of a club being holistic in approach. On most Fridays Allardyce has the youth team line up against the senior players in training. "We go down there and the manager likes to re-enact the formation of the opposition the next day, do some match preparation. We try to mimic the opposition," Carr says.

This was how Allardyce spotted Potts and Hall. "He has a close look at the players at that time and gives his opinion," Carr adds. "It's massive that the manager shows that interest. It shows the players there is a pathway, that we're not a team in isolation, we're a football club and everybody's important, and with Potts and Hall you can still be a youth-team player and make your way into the first team."