As Rob Hall prepares to exit the Boleyn for Bolton on a permanent transfer deal, another promising youngster has fallen by the wayside under the ultra-professional Allardyce regime. For some fans, this reflects a failing in the Big Sam philosophy, while others will point to the subsequent progress (or lack of it) by those who have departed as evidence that Allardyce is an astute operator who refuses to allow deadwood to gather.
Then we had the clear out last season of Baldock and Maynard – both bought to ensure attacking cover as we faced in to the promotion run in last season, but in truth the performances of Ricardo Vaz Te rendered both unnecessary and the Premiership was deemed by Big Sam to be too big a step up. Maynard suffered a nasty injury and only returned just in time to witness Cardiff’s promotion and may well get a chance to taste the Premiership next year. Similarly, Henri Lansbury seemed like an excellent squad option but a deal didn’t emerge and he is doing well at Notts Forest but without lighting up the sky! Will we ever forget his stint as stand in goalkeeper versus Blackpool after Rob ‘Noddy’ Green’s dismissal…prompting the chant “are you Ludo in disguise?”
And so to this year’s clean out…. Diarra obviously will go and for Matt Taylor it’s probably time to step down a division. Montano is gone to Oldham having failed to deliver on early promise. Will Ravel Morrison prove to be a punt that didn’t work out or is he ready to step up to the top level? Last year at Birmingham seemed to bring him on with consistently good displays both on and off the field…hmmm and what about VazTe who last season struggled to find form and sustained a nasty shoulder injury, or Modi Maiga – surely well entitled to feel hard done by last season when he always looked sprightly when he got an opportunity. Maybe another season might work, but that seems unlikely under Big Sam’s method prompting the question as to why we bought a player of his style at all?
Surely Danny Potts and Jordan Spence will stay but they will tire of trotting around in the stiff s and / or warming the bench unless Big Sam gives them a run. Potts still lacks some physicality but for Spence there is no such excuse. Hmmm
Final mention goes to Carlton Cole – a Hammers legend and all round decent bloke. We will miss him, even that wistful expression that follows his every near miss. The expectation is that West Ham’s ambition is higher than that which ‘Killer’ Cole can bring. Hammer’s faithful will need little reminding that the last time we parted company with a player deemed no longer good enough for our needs was Bobby Zamora…..who let’s not forget was a stunning success at Fulham, picked up a few England caps and then got sucked in to the mess that was / is QPR! Now there's a thought - a striker who would provide decent cover for Andy Carroll?