West Ham fan Neil Fairchild argues injuries are no excuse for results and questions Sam Allardyce decisions

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Sam Allardyce. Picture: Action Images Sam Allardyce. Picture: Action Images

As I write this, West Ham have not yet played Fulham in the opening match of 2014.

Even an unlikely victory at Craven Cottage would not change the fact that at the halfway stage of the season, too few points have been notched up to make the second half of the campaign anything other than an almighty struggle.

Put two of Winston Reid, James Tomkins and James Collins into the team that drew 3-3 with West Bromich Albion on Saturday and one point would surely have turned into three.

The ever-increasing injury list explains much about our current predicament but it does not excuse it.

All clubs experience phases in the season when they are blighted by injuries.

But even when these players – not to mention Ravel Morrison, Stewart Downing and Ricardo Vaz Te – were fit, we still were not performing.

More points should have been racked up in the autumn to cushion us against the harsh winter.

Even in the current situation there is no excuse for the kamikaze defending that saw not one but two leads squandered.

Sam Allardyce rightly points out that a back four consisting entirely of full backs is liable to concede goals.

He did not explain why Alou Diarra and Leo Chambers, both of whom could have slotted into the centre of defence, remained as unused substitutes.

Allardyce has always preferred to put square pegs in round holes rather than drop his favourites.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the continued inclusion of Kevin Nolan.

Nolan did a brilliant job helping the club get promotion in 2012. He struggled last season but ten league goals helped mask this.

This season, two goals aside, he has contributed nothing. His ineffectiveness remains a huge liability.

In the first half on Saturday he found himself with time and space outside the opposing penalty area but, rather than make a simple pass to Carlton Cole, inexplicably he rolled the ball back to the West Brom defence. Sadly, this sums up his contribution to the side.

Allardyce’s managerial record points to a man who knows how to turn this situation around.

What concerns me is that so much of what has got us here is a direct result of his decisions.

His employers appear to be putting faith in some transfer-window signings to help Allardyce put things right but sticking with the manager at this stage of the season may be the least worst option.

That’s about as generous a comment I can make about the gaffer right now.


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