Allardyce’s troubled West Ham tenure could emulate his Newcastle nadir | James Riach

Two heavy cup defeats have fuelled the fans' discontent. More of the same could spell the end for West Ham's manager

Six years ago on Friday Sam Allardyce woke up an unemployed man, the scars of his sacking by Newcastle United still hurting. If that remains the most regrettable period of his career – he was only in charge for eight months – Allardyce's current predicament at West Ham United does not lag far behind.

At Newcastle his appointment was met with severe scepticism, to put it mildly. Despite previous success with Bolton and an interview for the England job, the purists on Tyneside outweighed the pragmatists. Change the accents and the Barking Road in June 2011 could have been the Gallowgate in 2007.

Supporters who meet an appointment with muted, if any, enthusiasm will always be more eager to call for an execution, and the numbers keen to see Allardyce remain in the post are certainly dwindling.

His reception at Eastlands during the 6-0 debacle at Manchester City said it all. Angry chants emanated from the away support as Allardyce watched his side give up without a semblance of a fight, yet there remain those who believe alternative options are limited. Ten years ago if a side was languishing in the bottom three as West Ham are, supporters would have welcomed Allardyce with open arms.

Injuries have hampered the Hammers hugely this year, but some argue that such reliance on Andy Carroll was a mistake in itself. The striker is expected to be on the bench for Saturday's game at Cardiff, while the club are still waiting on a work permit before any deal for Lacina Traoré can be completed.

Allardyce described promotion from the Championship as one of his finest achievements, yet despite a 10th place finish in the Premier League last season, this campaign has been an undoubted catastrophe. George McCartney's assertion that against City "there wasn't much in it for the first 10 minutes", said it all.

Despite the injuries, six players who started in Manchester, a defeat that followed arguably greater embarrassment at Nottingham Forest, were also named in Allardyce's starting XI on the opening day of the season. That number would have been increased by two had Kevin Nolan not been suspended and Adrián not preferred to Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Before the losses at City and Forest, a poll of the West Ham online fanzine Knees Up Mother Brown showed that a small majority still wanted Allardyce in the job. However, their editor, Graeme Howlett, believes that number may have shifted.

"The last two results are almost unprecedented in recent history," he said. "Allardyce's insistence that he had no option but to throw the kids in en masse at Nottingham Forest last weekend bore some semblance of rationality given our extensive injury list, but his position was weakened somewhat having served up a second helping of tripe in the space of just three days by meekly surrendering to the ridiculously talented – yet far from invincible – Manchester City with his strongest available team.

"Sam's appointment was never fully welcomed nor accepted by the fan base as a whole and some of his detractors have used the current crisis as a convenient vehicle upon which to vent their anger and frustration. However there are also large numbers of fans who initially welcomed his arrival and are now calling for his immediate replacement.

"There is a certain amount of sympathy for Allardyce given the chronic injury crisis, however it remains the case that we failed to gain sufficient points when all bar Andy Carroll were fit at the start of the season. It's certainly a convenient excuse for our current position."

Ali Worth, a member of the West Ham Supporter Advisory Board, believes the club's performance against City compared unfavourably with the fight put up by Crystal Palace in the Premier League in December. She said: "There was a big difference in quality, but Palace went and held them for most of the game. We didn't even bother turning up. Would we be better off without a manager?

"It's not just about these two games, it's about our league position overall. We've stupidly bought just one player and wasted all our money on a guy who is injured. If they sack him there is a big compensation package. It might not do us any good to get rid of him now, although it pains me to say it."

Neville Nixon, editor of, said: "Most people who need someone to rescue them in this situation would call Sam Allardyce. It's better the devil you know, but it will be a miracle if we stay up."

David Sullivan and David Gold's open letter in support of their manager earlier in the week was perceived by some as a fatal vote of confidence, ahead of a three-week period that includes matches against Chelsea and Newcastle. The club continues to back Allardyce and insists it will do so for the foreseeable future. More of the same, though, would surely spell another desperate dismissal. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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