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Kirk’s Column: Two-year deal poses questions

PUBLISHED: 16:02 18 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:27 18 May 2013

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce. Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce. Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

EMPICS Sport

Kirk Blows writes each week for the Barking & Dagenham Post.

As expected, the West Ham website confirmed that manager Sam Allardyce had signed a new contract at the weekend.

Interestingly, there was no mention as to when the new deal expires, so we have co-chairman David Gold to thank for revealing on his Twitter account that the agreement is for another two years.

The question is: why two and not three?

West Ham are set to move into the Olympic Stadium in 2016, so it was logical to assume that any new deal would extend up to that point in time.

Instead, the Hammers are faced with the possibility of a change of management just 12 months before moving into a 54,000-capacity arena – and that can’t seem like a good idea.

In one sense it’s reassuring that the manager is being kept on his toes without the cosy security of a three or four-year package.

It’s worked so far, with Allardyce winning promotion and securing a possible top-half finish within the timespan of his original contract.

But one senses that it’s more Big Sam’s idea to stick to two-year deals than the club’s.

Indeed, after the play-off final success against Blackpool last year, he insisted he had no intention of discussing a new contract at that point because he wanted to remain his “own man”.

That sounds like somebody who wants to keep his options open – or at least one that is eager to remain in control of his destiny.

It’s as if he is keeping his eye open for a bigger job – in which case the Hammers will just be seen as a stepping stone.

That could suit West Ham, of course.

Allardyce can consolidate the team’s place in the Premier League before moving on.

And the Hammers can look to appoint a manager who is more in tune with the club’s traditions of playing stylish football.

More likely, he’ll be signing another two-year contract in 2015…

******

West Ham entertain relegated Reading tomorrow knowing that victory will guarantee a top-10 finish.

That would be a fantastic achievement for the team following their promotion back to the Premier League last year.


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