Sam Allardyce launches outspoken attack on 'brainwashed' West Ham fans
Sam Allardyce has launched an outspoken attack on supporters of his former club West Ham, saying they had been "brainwashed" into thinking their side should always play 'the West Ham way'.
Allardyce's appointment at Upton Park was greeted with muted enthusiasm by supporters in 2011, who were concerned at his reputation for playing direct football.
Although he stabilised West Ham in the Premier League, fans never particularly took to him and he left at the end of last season, after a poor run of results left the club in the bottom half of the table.
Now Allardyce has returned fire on those supporters in his new book Big Sam, accusing them of being misguided - and that their demands made players unhappy.
In an extract published in The Sun he wrote: "My 'long ball' label was started by Graeme Souness, who got upset whenever I beat him when he was at Blackburn or Newcastle, and was picked up by Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez.
"As soon as I was appointed West Ham manager in 2011 the big debate was whether I would folow the 'West Ham way', which nobody could define but, whatever it was, I apparently I didn't play it.
"I felt the West Ham way was about wearing your heart on your sleeve and showing passion for the club and winning.
"But the fans were being brainwashed into thinking that, historically, the club had a particular style of play which was akin to Barcelona, which was potty.
"I once called the supporters deluded and I stand by that. I don't know who invented the 'West Ham way' phrase, but it's a millstone around the club's neck.
"I've talked to my predecessors Alan Curbishley, Alan Pardew and Harry Redknapp and they got it in the neck from the crowd as much as I did.
"None of the players would admit it, but they used to sit in the dressing room at half-time going: 'Listen to them, never f------ happy, slaughtering us all the time.'
"It must be a big anxiety for the owners, who need to fill the 54,000-seater Olympic Stadium with entertaiing and successful football next year.
"The fans won't turn up if West Ham are playing fantasy football and losing 5-3 every week. Slaven Bilic is the new man in the hotseat and good luck to him. He will need it."