NEW West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has promised to create a ‘winning mentality’ at the recently relegated club following his appointment on Wednesday.
The former Blackburn Rovers manager will attempt to revive the team Avram Grant left in turmoil and has promised, with the backing of the board, to bring in new players as he bids to orchestrate an immediate return to the Premier League.
After being named as the club’s 14th manager, Allardyce said: “It is an honour to be the new manager of West Ham United. It is a fantastic club with a great tradition and loyal supporters who deserve to be in the Premier League.
“I can’t wait to begin pre-season training as I am determined to get this club back where it belongs.
“I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t think we could bounce straight back into the Premier League. More than that, I wouldn’t have contemplated the job if I didn’t think there was the opportunity to build something substantial at West Ham.”
Allardyce comes with a proven track record, having helped hoist Bolton Wanderers into England’s top division and successfully embedded them there.
A brief spell at Newcastle United was followed by a stint with Blackburn, before he was surprisingly sacked by the club’s new Indian owners.
Allardyce is famed for his uncompromising approach to games, having built a reputation at Bolton as a tough, obdurate outfit that cared little for style and focussed on substance.
There will be some sections of West Ham fans that will be concerned that the pass-and-move brand of football so closely allied to the club will be compromised with Allardyce’s appointment.
The manager moved to allay supporters’ fears, but he hinted that he would introduce a more ‘resilient’ approach.
“I know there will be West Ham fans asking whether I’m going to abandon the style of play that’s been the club’s heritage over the years. All I’ll say is it will be a tale of home and away.
“At Upton Park we’ll attempt to play the kind of passing game the fans want. We will aim to continue in the same way on our travels but we’ll also be tough, hard to beat and utterly resilient.”
The next month will be spent scouring the market to find players capable of firing the club back to the bigtime, although the arrivals are sure to be offset with the departure of several star names, who continue to be linked with moves away from the Boleyn Ground.
Allardyce is keen to ensure the young prospects already at the club will become the fulcrum of the new-look side, and believes the talent is there to launch a successful promotion bid next season.
“There is a core of very talented young players at the club who’ve come up through the youth system, have West Ham in their blood and who I know I can build a successful team around,” he added.
“That’s what I’m looking forward to, managing a club that wins more games than it loses and competing at the top of the table. We need to create a winning mentality and give the fans a team they can be proud to watch.”