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Premier League safety vital, says West Ham owner

ESPN staff
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Sam Allardyce has been under increasing pressure from the West Ham fans © PA Photos
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West Ham co-owner David Gold has hinted that Sam Allardyce's position as manager is safe after claiming that retaining the club's Premier League status is more important than the team's playing style.

A run of three straight defeats was halted by a 2-1 win over Hull at Upton Park - but Allardyce was booed by the fans at the final whistle for his negative tactics, particularly after the visitors were reduced to 10 men.

But while the West Ham board will review Allardyce's future at the end of the season, they are keen that any decision must be made with the club's finances in mind ahead of a move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016.

Allardyce told players to ignore fans

Allardyce gestures at full-time © Getty Images
  • Sam Allardyce has revealed the West Ham fans' booing of their team during the Hull match led to him changing his half-time routine and telling the players to ignore the discontent in the stands.
  • "It was a new experience for me," he wrote in his weekly column for the Evening Standard.
  • "I've been associated with teams who have been booed when we've been beaten; I've been booed when we haven't played well. Never before, though, have I or my team been booed after we have just won.
  • "I heard the booing first at half-time. We were in a good position, as we were 1-0 up. The usual procedure in the dressing room is that I let the lads have a couple of minutes on their own while Neil McDonald writes up the key performance notes which I then go through with the team.
  • "This time, though, I couldn't allow things to proceed in that way because all I could hear was the players going on about some of the fans.
  • "My job then was to tell them to forget all about that and re-focus their minds on what was happening out there on the pitch."

"Every season we remain in the Premier League we will get stronger and closer to going to the Olympic Stadium debt-free," Gold told The Times.

"This must be our priority. At this time we should all focus on one thing and that is retaining our Premier League status - it is vital for the future of our great club. [The performance against Hull] was dogged, determined, lacked flair, but three very important points."

West Ham's goal to be debt-free in before the Stratford move relies on television income earned from staying in the top flight. The club's debts moved to £77 million in the latest accounts released in May last year - mostly money that is owed to Gold and fellow co-owner David Sullivan, as well as investment company CB Holding.

But the newspaper also claims that while Allardyce is considered a safe option for Premier League survival, the owners are becoming increasingly concerned about his lack of development in players who can be sold on for a profit, while the likes of Andy Carroll and Matt Jarvis have failed to meet the standards expected of their hefty price tags.

There is also concern that if the team are not playing good football, they will struggle to fill the 54,000-seat Olympic Stadium. Upton Park houses 35,000 fans and is regularly full on match-day.

Meanwhile, midfielder Mark Noble appealed to West Ham's to back the team in their final home matches against against Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Tottenham.

"We will always perform better when we are feeling relaxed and comfortable," he said. "I must admit the anxiety from the stands can spill on to the pitch and get into our minds, as much as we try to ignore it.

"When that happens, some players can be affected and they make mistakes that they would not normally make. You could see that [against Hull] and we made mistakes."

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