Vote of confidence for under-fire Allardyce

West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan say the manager is not to blame for the club's miserable plight, with injuries ravaging the squad

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 9:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 9:16pm

The joint owners of West Ham United sent an open letter to fans of their beleaguered club backing manager Sam Allardyce following their 5-0 thrashing at Championship side Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.

The London club are also second from bottom in the Premier League, having won just one of their last 13 games, and face the imposing task of a League Cup semi-final first leg at Manchester City on Wednesday.

Normally a vote of confidence from a board spells the imminent departure of a manager but West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan appear to have absolved Allardyce of any blame for their plight.

The pair said the manager could hardly be expected to cope in the third round at Forest on Sunday with so many players out injured.

"We know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham a great Premier League club," Gold and Sullivan said in the letter. "These may be tough times for everyone at West Ham but no one at Upton Park is panicking yet."

It's a disaster at the moment, a total disaster and in certain areas we've not been able to cope
Sam Allardyce

Sullivan and Gold believe, and have believed all season, that Allardyce is the best man to keep them up.

"Premier League survival is paramount. The club have done all the figures on staying in the top flight and will spend again in January with that in mind."

The Hammers have been badly hit by a series of injuries with record signing Andy Carroll sidelined all season because of a foot injury. Allardyce, who has been at Upton Park since June 2011, said he was forced into fielding a young and largely inexperienced side at Forest, making nine changes from the team beaten 2-1 at Fulham on New Year's Day.

He is without Kevin Nolan (suspension), Mark Noble (calf injury), James Tomkins (groin), James Collins (calf), Winston Reid (ankle), Ricardo Vaz Te (dislocated shoulder) and Carroll.

"What choice did I have?" he queried afterwards.

"I made them [Gold and Sullivan] aware of what would happen. I'm not in the position to go and do these things without telling everybody internally what is planned for the next few games.

"My hands are tied behind my back every time I see what's available and the team is almost picking itself," he said. "It's a disaster at the moment, a total disaster and in certain areas we've not been able to cope.

"My priorities meant I put too many youngsters in and they were not able to withstand Forest's pressure in the last half an hour.

"I picked the team so it is my responsibility. You know what my priorities are: the Premier League first and then the League Cup."

In their letter, Gold and Sullivan added: "Many key players are out injured and Sam has been handed a near impossible task of coming through three crucial games in the space of six days with a squad of only 14 fit and available senior players," read the letter.

"This is not an excuse, it is a fact. We are under no illusions as to the seriousness of our current predicament in the Premier League.

"But on the board we have a combined talent of running football clubs and we will draw on all of our nous to get West Ham out of this situation.

"We are all working round the clock to do everything in our powers to help arrest our slump in form."

The first step has been signing defender Roger Johnson on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers for the rest of the season. The 30-year-old Johnson won the League Cup with Birmingham City in 2011 and helped Cardiff City reach the FA Cup final in 2008.

He joined Wolves in 2011 for a reported fee of £7 million (HK$89 million) and made 42 Championship appearances for them last season before moving to Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

Johnson could possibly go straight into the West Ham squad for Wednesday's match at Manchester City.