West Ham’s desire to bounce straight back to the Premier League has seen them appoint Sam Allardyce as manager and bring in new players, including their latest recruit John Carew. The arrivals of both Allardyce and Carew tick many of the boxes for the Hammers and their push for instant promotion but one box both miss out on is the style of football still demanded by many around Upton Park.
The romantics amongst the Hammers fans may yearn for attractive passing football littered with flair and technique, but the capture of Carew emphasises the club’s imminent shift away from that style. The former Aston Villa and Stoke man is your typical big strong centre forward and would be best utilised by throwing the ball forward towards his head at any opportunity.
But the 6ft 5in striker had a decent goal record at Aston Villa, making 133 appearances and scoring 54 goals (also scoring twice during his loan spell at Stoke). By signing Carew Allardyce is not getting a prolific goalscorer or a player blessed with world-beating technique but he is the most direct option the new boss could have signed. In the combative and competitive Championship Carew should cause many defences problems. However Carew’s arrival could easily be met with the same concerns that his new boss received.
The appointment of Allardyce in June was greeted by a very mixed response. Despite the former Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn manager’s years of experience, Premier League success and strong personality, it was his direct long-ball style of play that was sticking in the minds of many fans. But Allardyce utilised this style to great success at Bolton and Blackburn (enjoying a less successful spell at Newcastle) and in an effort to get the Hammers back to the top tier, success should always win out over style.
Even if Allardyce had the desire and players to try the attractive style of football, I doubt whether it would bring him much success in the Championship this season. The league is littered with past greats and teams desperate to battle their way back to the top. On paper England’s second tier is going to be exciting but in reality I expect it to often be a real battle and slog for points. Having flair players able to take on and beat three defenders will always be a bonus (Adel Taarabt for QPR is the prime example) but the signing of players like Carew is a wise move by Allardyce. If the service to the big striker is correct then the Norwegian will always be a danger in Championship boxes.
Few teams in world football have ever developed a successful style that they stick with throughout their history. West Ham is no doubt a club littered with tradition and the desire for attractive football is an accepted demand from fans across any leagues. But I expect Allardyce to lead West Ham into a new era. Whether this includes promotion or not is unclear but with the signings of players like Carew, Allardyce has the chance to really make his mark in London.
Written by Jenny Kerwood for FootballFancast.com. Would you prefer style or success at West Ham? If you want to read more of my bite size, 140 character views and thoughts follow me on Twitter @jennyk5
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