Big Sam Allardyce lasted around seven months at Newcastle, while Alan Pardew was sacked seven months after leading West Ham to an FA Cup Final.
Now they are the Premier League’s two longest-serving managers, albeit an age behind Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, despite both being bookmaker favourites to be dismissed again at the beginning of the season. But they have proven themselves tough enough to ride out the hard times and thrive as they are both now look up at European qualification instead of relegation.
Happy Hammer Allardyce pointed out the game’s only goalscorer, defender Aaron Cresswell, as another great example of sticking by people in football for the long haul. The diminutive defender was discarded by his hometown club Liverpool as a kid and has worked his way through the ranks with Tranmere and Ipswich before joining West Ham in August.
It was not one of the headline moves of the summer, but it could prove to be one of the shrewdest following his first ever Premier League goal. Allardyce pointed out afterwards: “Kevin Nolan had the same [start to his career]. He got discarded by Liverpool and went to Bolton. We all know what he has achieved in the Premier League over the last 10 years.
“Aaron has had slow progress. I think it was Paul Jewell who saw him at Tranmere and took him to Ipswich. That gave him the platform to gain more experience.
” He is Mr Dependable in terms of his performances and reliability. It’s a great start for him and now he’s scored a match-winner so I’m sure he’s loving every minute of it. He’s loving the euphoria that comes around this level of football.”
Cresswell commented: “This is the stuff dreams are made of. It’s still early for me and I’ve only played 13 games so I just look forward to playing.”
Allardyce believes he was able to sign Cresswell so easily due to his rivals’ instinct to look abroad. Allardyce wants to build his team on a British base in a season when the number of English players in the Premier League has risen from 32 to 36 per cent.
Allardyce added: “Certainly the basis for me in this team is British players. I have a nice mixture. Picking up the likes of Aaron is great from the point of view that we have a nice mixture of talent. They are ready straight from the start whereas your foreign players you’re not sure whether they’ll hit the ground running.”
Allardyce believes this fifth-placed West Ham squad, now on a run of just one defeat in seven, is the best he has worked with since he was leading unfashionable Bolton into Europe about ten years ago.
Pardew, meanwhile, remains upbeat despite this deserved defeat ending a run of six consecutive wins leaving Newcastle only four points shy of a top four place.
“We have won games against Liverpool and Spurs where it could have gone against us,” Pardew said “We are thankful they didn’t on those occasions but we can’t be disappointed.
“We would have liked to have played a little bit better than we did but the most important thing is to now to get the next result. When we finished fifth, when I have had really good teams in the past, we have bounced back quickly.”
Pardew’s men go to Burnley tomorrow night without suspended captain Moussa Sissoko, who was sent off for two bookable offences in the space of 46 seconds, and midfield colleague Jack Colback who is also banned.
Ireland keeper Rob Elliot will continue in goal after Pardew revealed Tim Krul faces an extended lay-off of five weeks after suffering ankle ligament damage.
WEST HAM UNITED: Adrian 6; Jenkinson 6, Collins 6, Tomkins 6, Cresswell 7; Amalfitano 5, Kouyate 6 (Nolan, 85, 5), Noble 7, Jarvis 5 (Zarate, 70, 5); Downing 6; Carroll 6.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot 7; Janmaat 5 (S Taylor, 74), Williamson 6, Dummett 5, Haidara 5; Sissoko 6, Tiote 6 (Cisse, 63, 5), Colback 5; Gouffran 5 (Cabella, 63, 6), Perez 6, Ameobi 7.
Referee: Mike Dean (The Wirral)