As a man who has managed in four different divisions and never suffered the pain of relegation, Martin Allen knows a thing or two about the challenges of leading a football team.

The former West Ham United midfielder has taken charge of Brentford, MK Dons, Leicester City, Cheltenham Town, Notts County, Gillingham and - on four occasions - Barnet, where he is currently the head coach.

Now 48, Allen knows both West Ham and his old Club's own manager, Sam Allardyce, well, and has respect for what both have achieved over the past three seasons.

Following promotion at the first attempt in 2012, Big Sam has stabilised the Hammers in the Barclays Premier League - despite having to contend a horrendous succession of injuries last season - and is planning to build on that base next term.

"It was always going to be a tough season. People seem to forget that that West Ham only came out of the Championship just two years ago and everything doesn't happen overnight," said Allen, who gained two promotions and endured one relegation during his seven years at the Boleyn Ground between 1989 and 1995.

"They need time to establish themselves. The big boys are getting stronger and being able to spend more money. West Ham finished 13th in the Premier League the season just gone, in the middle section. It was a tough season with a difficult patch in the middle but, overall, I would say it was successful in terms of what was needed to be done.

"Sam has done exactly what was needed to be done - Getting promotion at the first time of asking, which is difficult enough, and now two full seasons in the Premier League, with the second season always proving to be difficult for promoted teams."

Both Big Sam and the Board have stated their intention to make West Ham are more entertaining, exciting and attacking proposition for their opponents to deal with in 2014/15 - an approach welcomed by the man christened 'Mad Dog' by the Claret and Blue Army for his own aggressive style.

"There was a time at Christmas and just after when it was particularly difficult, where the first-choice back four was missing," reflected Allen. "They still went out there and were competitive, while there are always going to be ups and downs throughout the season in the Premier League and overall.

"I would think the owners would be happy - perhaps they would be chatting to the manager about they can play more passing football but, as we all know, it costs money. Maybe we need some strengthening in midfield but, that sort of player costs a lot of money. These are things you have to look at. It's a big summer ahead."

In summary, Allen believes West Ham need to adopt a balanced approach to their third season back in the Barclays Premier League, with excitement and attacking flair coupled with pragmatism and defensive resilience.

Should the Hammers strike that balance, the man who has managed more than 400 matches in senior football says the fans who still sing his name will be cheering for their current heroes more often than not.

"Fans on the whole back the team, of course they do, while you will always get those who follow what a group of them are saying after a game where the team has not played particularly well - it happens at all levels, from the top to the bottom. Likewise, there are games when you are the manager standing in that technical area and you can't believe what you are watching.

"As a manager, you have to be patient, but it's not the society we live in these days, while you also have the pressure from the media.

"The team has to be in the Premier League for the move to the Olympic Stadium - it's a great and big step for everybody connected to the Club. The die-hard football fans you have at West Ham know there is this big journey ahead, moving from a stadium that is rich in history to a new stadium. For me, there is no one better to deal with making that transition and all of that and to lead the team through it than Sam."