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2011-06-22T10:35:00 Updated 2015-03-19T08:35:01

Sam sets out promotion plan

Sam Allardyce has set out his plan to lead West Ham United back to the Premier League.

The 56-year-old held his first media conference in a packed Press Room at the Boleyn Ground and immediately stated his aim to lead the Hammers to the top-flight at the first attempt.

Smiling broadly, the man known throughout the game as 'Big Sam' explained how he plans to turn the club's fortunes around, with there to record every word.

Sam, to start, how do you plan to achieve promotion this season?

"Without sounding too arrogant, I think that my experience and my expertise as a manager that I've gained, particularly in the Premier League over the last ten years, will help me to bring the club together, to get a team spirit and a togetherness that is going to achieve the ultimate - to get promotion back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.

"As difficult a task as that is going to be, I think it can be achieved. At a club the size of West Ham, it needs to be done as quickly as possible because the long-term goal is the Olympic Stadium and the team must be back in the Premier League when it is going to move into that great venue.

"So, I've got to instil a bit of discipline, a little bit of magic and creativity and certainly a bond between the players and the staff to drive ourselves on through what is a very difficult season trying to get into the Premier League. Lots of big teams are spending lots of money aside from ourselves to try to achieve that goal.

"It won't be an easy task. There are 46 very difficult games, but last year we saw QPR and Norwich achieve it and we're hoping to do the same.

"I've got to try to really get rid of the hangover that relegation brings to a football club and transform that as quickly as I possibly can into a positive mental attitude."

Have you spoken to the players about their futures?

"Not just yet. They are all on holiday and will come back next week.

"I've talked to some of the younger players - Jack Collison and James Tomkins - this morning and it was great to see them in and around the training ground at this stage of the season. They could still be on holiday, as most are.

"I think when we all get together, I've got an awful lot to sort out in terms of pre-season training, staffing and relocating myself. I'm going to try to do that before the players get back and speak to them on an individual and a group basis and set out some goals, really, and what we need to achieve.

"I think we'll look at moving some players on because their desire is to want to play in the Premier League. From a financial point of view, it suits us as well to lose that financial commitment because the drastic loss in revenue is what we all have to face at West Ham, first and foremost.

"Certainly the owners have got to really back-up with their own money to try to get us back into the Premier League. Some of the cuts we have to make will have to come and some have already been made, of course, because some of the players have already left.

"We will try to get as best a squad as we possibly can.

"On a positive note, we've signed on Abdoulaye Faye and Kevin Nolan already, which are good positive moves and, like I said, I think there are still some very good young and experienced players at the football club.

"If we all want to work together and go in the right direction, we can give it our best shot and hopefully that will be good enough next season."

How many players will have to leave?

"The speculation is probably around Carlton Cole, Robert Green and Scott Parker. At the moment, we haven't had any concrete bids for any of those players.

"Other than them, there is no rush to sell anybody else.

"Thomas Hitzlsperger has already left, as far as I'm concerned. He had his contract terminated and that position has moved on."

Sam Allardyce

There have been comments about the possible style of play you will employ and whether it will fit in with the 'West Ham way'. What do you have to say about those comments?

"I thought that question would have come first! We will be OK. When did West Ham last play the 'West Ham way?'. It can't be the 'West Ham way' if we got relegated.

"The club has been up and down like a yo-yo so I don't see the fans as thinking of that as playing the 'West Ham way'.

"The 'West Ham way' is about winning football matches and the enjoyment of winning. The fans are in the game to watch winning football and I'm in the game to play winning football and to entertain the public, and that's what I do.

"Everywhere I've been, I've entertained the public, regardless of the perception. The perception from the media is that 'Sam Allardyce plays long ball' but that's only a perception. Football is run on perception today."

Why have you decided to drop down a division at this stage of your managerial career?

"Because it's West Ham, that's why. I think that as a football club, it's such a big club and has great tradition and a great fan base, really.

"Weighing up all the odds, I thought 'Let's go and try and be successful at a football that's not been as successful as it should have been over the last four or five years'.

"I think the excitement of rebuilding the football club was a big pitch to me - the idea that I could go and reinvent West Ham as a club with sustainable success.

"Too often this club has had fleeting moments of grandeur mixed with too much depression in terms of the times it's been relegated.

"I do think it's a football club where something sustainable can be built if we all pull in the right direction."

Will it be harder to emulate the success you achieved at newly-promoted Bolton Wanderers in the modern-day game?

"I provided the benchmark for success - survival was only two years of my seven and the last four were eighth, sixth, eighth and seventh, so I shouldn't really be tagged as a 'survival' manager. I am a productive manager who breeds success wherever I go.

"Yes, I had to survive in the early stages at Bolton. Yes, I had to make Blackburn survive when I went there, but my ultimate goal is to be in the top half of the Premier League table searching for European places and cup finals, as I did at the end at Bolton.

"That is a long way off at the moment at West Ham - the only focus is to get promoted and get out of this division as quick as I possibly can. If I don't do that, I don't expect to be here, to be quite honest."

How confident are you that you can get West Ham United promoted?

"It's early days yet, so I'll know more once we've started training and got through the first two or three weeks and I've ironed out any particular problems that need urgent attention, whether they be contractual or family issues or whatever it might be.

"Those things will have to be dealt with first and then we can get down to setting some goals on how we will get out of this division.

"The players will tell me whether they are good enough to get out of this league by their attitude, by how well they train and how well they perform in pre-season.

"I'll speak to the owners if and when need be in terms of modifying that squad or getting somebody new in.

"I just hope it's minimal now and there's not too much to be done because it's a very difficult job to change around a team that's been relegated, but it's even more difficult when you lose more than 50 per cent of your players and then have to bring ten or 12 in to actually get a team together to play as a team.

"You're basically putting a bunch of strangers together virtually that you've got to try to mould into unit and a system that brings the best type of football to the fans of West Ham, to entertain them so they can go home happy when they've won."

How big a challenge is this for you in your career?

"Personally I have taken a risk by losing my Premier League status which has been built over the last ten years or so and come down into the Championship to try to bring success to West Ham.

"Hopefully I've made the right decision. I'm going to do my very, very best to get them back where we all want to be. There is nobody at this club who wants to be in the Premier League more than me now, believe you me.

"I don't want to spend too long in the Championship if I can help it. It's a great, very competitive league and there are lots and lots of teams looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow.

"At the end of the day, only three teams can go up a year and we've got to be one of those, certainly in the next two years."

Will the planned move to the Olympic Stadium in 2014 serve as a distraction?

"No, I don't think the players will worry about it.

"I think Upton Park is one of the reasons I am here, anyway. Even though it is one of the oldest stadia in and around the country now, because the fanbase is so big and vocal, it has a great atmosphere.

"As players, managers and coaches, you like to feel that atmosphere. That's why you do the job on a Saturday. I think the atmosphere they give the players and everybody around Upton Park is fine by me.

"The players won't be worried about the Olympic Stadium because it's quite a way off.

"We've got to create a very good atmosphere at West Ham and the only way I can create that is by creating winning football on a regular basis. If the fans get behind the team, then the team will deliver to the fans and that is what has happened wherever I've been - particularly at Bolton and even down as far as Notts County and Blackpool, where I managed before.

"So, we can create a fortress here at Upton Park, hopefully, and people will not look forward to coming here.

"The big transition is also improving the away form because I've done my research and over the last couple of seasons we could be great here and win, but when we go away we seem to be a soft touch in terms of results. That has to change if we want to get promoted."

Finally, how are you settling in on a personal level?

"I haven't settled anywhere yet because I've hardly had any sleep. The phone hasn't stopped ringing and nor have the emails, so I'm haring around at the moment, trying to get a plan together in my head to focus on what is most important first and trying to move through that on a daily basis.

"I seem to be waking at four or five in the morning and writing these notes down, but when I get up in the morning they don't make too much sense.

"Like I said, there is a lot to go through but I've done it before so I know what to expect. It's not easy for me or the club at the moment, but we've got to get through it as quick as we can.

"We've got between now and 7 August when the season starts for me to get everybody settled in their own department - players and staff - and hopefully we'll have a united staff and a happy and very contented environment."

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