For Chris Powell, the start of the new Championship campaign has been a testing one, with his Charlton Athletic side recording just one win in ten league outings.

Not that you would know it from his positively bubbly demeanour, as he grins from ear to ear at the first mention of his time at West Ham United.

The now 44-year-old made 41 starts in the Hammers' promotion-winning season of 2004/05, in which, incredibly, he was only ever substituted once.

Now back at the Boleyn Ground as a manager, the Addicks boss oversaw a 4-2 friendly victory on Thursday. And while he hopes it will inspire his men to greater feats in competitive football, he could hardly help but admire all that is going on at his old stamping ground.        

"Absolutely, I always look out for any club that I played for," he told whufc.com. "But West Ham, I went to the Play-Off final against Blackpool and short of wearing a claret and blue shirt, I was willing them on.

"I had a tremendous year here, many moons ago now! There's superb support at this football club, no matter what division they're in. I was in the Championship with them, won the Play-Off final and they could have filled the Millennium Stadium on their own.

Chris Powell

"I'm really pleased that they not only came up, but stayed up, because that's always important. Sam's a terrific manager and has always had time for people like myself and Alex [Dyer]. We still keep in contact with one or two people here, but I keep a close eye on them." 

No more so than last Sunday at White Hart Lane, when boyhood allegiances were not about to stop him appreciating the performance of Ravel Morrison, in particular. It reminded him just what this West Ham side are capable of and Powell is backing them to have another good Premier League season.     

"Even though I was a Spurs fan growing up, I met Ravel on Sunday night at St George's Park and I said to him, what a great goal. They've got little diamonds like that alongside the experienced players, Kevin Nolan, you've got Joe Cole in there, James Tomkins and Winston Reid.

"They can have a good season, a real solid season. I don't think you want people asking for too much. Of course, you want to do better than you did last year, but the big thing is to stay in this league. The Premier League is what West Ham deserve.

"Like Sam, I'm pragmatic in respect of, first and foremost, stay in this league and see where it takes you. They've got Burnley in the cup as well, so could have a little eye on Wembley!"

An aspirational manager himself, Powell has huge admiration for the job Allardyce has done at the Boleyn Ground and foresees plenty more of the same in the coming months.  

He continued: "Terrific. Sam knows how to handle people, knows how to handle the good times as well as the down moments and I think he will, as he's started to do, gather a squad together that will not only compete, but get points and perform well.

"What he's putting together is lads that know this league, who can perform at the Boleyn Ground, because it's a great place. I'm happy that he's in charge, because I think he'll bring good stability and will keep driving this Club forward."