Sam Allardyce’s record spells an uncomfortable reunion for West Ham
It will be interesting to see what sort of reaction Sam Allardyce receives when he returns to Upton Park on Saturday with his Sunderland side.
On the one hand, he achieved what was asked of him at West Ham, regaining and maintaining the club’s Premier League status, but on the other compromising the team’s style of play.
Whatever ‘the West Ham way’ is, some sections of the Hammers support felt Allardyce delivered the opposite and struggled to win them over.
Under Slaven Bilic, a more free-flowing liquid football approach has been seen in east London, with the Irons doing well to be challenging for a European spot.
But as Big Sam prepares for a trip back to the capital, home fans expecting a straightforward three points against the Premier League strugglers should think again.
It seems the Dudley-born gaffer isn’t one to maintain a soft spot for his former clubs, as far as results are concerned at least.
Over the space of his 27-year career in the dugout, on 22 occasions Allardyce has pitted his wits against a side where he had previously held the full-time manager’s position.
Of those matches, he has come out on the winning side more than half the time and has lost just five games against his ex-employers, winning 11 of his last 16.
In fact, Allardyce has not lost on returning to a ground he used to call home since his Notts County side were beaten 1-0 by Blackpool at Bloomfield Road back in 1999.
Since then he has come out on top of in six of his seven matches where he has returned to a former club.
West Ham are 4/5 to get three points in Saturday’s early kick-off, with a win taking the capital club up to fifth spot in the table, for two hours at least.
Having seen their attacking players tear a lacklustre Blackburn outfit to shreds in the FA Cup last week, things look positive for Bilic and Co, especially when you consider that they have scored two goals in each of their last five home fixtures.
However, Sunderland, under Allardyce, have looked a different beast to the one that struggled at the start of the season.
The Black Cats have picked up six victories under their current manager, and even in defeat have looked like they won’t go down without a fight.
They come into the fixture after two weeks off having picked up four points in their two recent games against Liverpool and Manchester United.
They are evens to leave the Boleyn Ground with at least a point and continue their run that has seen them lose just twice in their last seven league fixtures.
And with Big Sam in charge and a certain Jermain Defoe leading the line, it could just be a case of the Hammers faithful cursing a couple of familiar faces.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.