The Allardyce acolytes, suplicants at the throne of Satan in my book, keep pointing to the table as if Allardyce is working a miracle at West Ham; but the fact is, we sit in second place only on the basis of goal difference and Leeds, Hull and Birmingham all have games in hand which could see them climb level or above us - depending on who beats who of course!
Winning ugly is being used as an excuse for abandoning everything the club stands for, but the results hardly merit such a betrayal of values. If we were pulling clear, leaving the clutch of also-rans in our wake, then fair enough. But we are not. Like a turd, we are floating on the surface of the puddle, but with a whole pile of shit within touching distance below. A few bad results, and we will be where Leicester are now - and look at how Sven's performance has been judged!
Time will prove our result at Brighton to be no better than average; and our performance was nothing short of disgraceful! Allardyce's apologists point to three games where we have bagged four goals already this season, but the Forest and Watford games seem an age away now, and Blackpool played like the donkeys that the resort is famous for. When we have played a half decent side, we have looked decidedly average.
And fair enough, we may be precisely that - a very, very ordinary team indeed, unable to impose itself on any team other than rank opponents playing below form. But that wasn't true last season was it? Sure we were found wanting in the Prem, but we looked comfortable against Championship teams didn't we? Grant had a 100% record in those fixtures so there is an argument that we have gone backwards in terms of quality since Doctor Evil took charge.
I am more optimistic than that. I believe that we have the quality in the squad to boss games in this division - but only if the players are encouraged to play a more expansive game. Look at how isolated Carew was yesterday evening. It was as bad as any game last season with poor Cole parked up top on his own and a wilderness of empty space between him and the midfield. That was bad enough in the Prem; it is utterly inexcusable against the "quality" of opposition in the Championship.
It's all very well for Allardyce to moan about our inability to hold on to the ball but how often could you have thrown a blanket over the team? We were sitting so damn deep and there was nobody to pass to most of the time; so inevitably it was booted long with more hope than intent. I was ranting before the introduction of Sears, demanding to know why Allardyce was waiting for the equaliser before he tried to change the game. When the change came, it was enforced, and even then Allardyce opted to retain the same shape rather than present Brighton with a new challenge based on 4-4-2, with Baldock running through a very mediocre Brighton back four.
We were so lucky that Brighton failed to net just before half time. Had they done so, we would have lost the game. A penalty should probably have been awarded when Reid moved his arm to the ball to deflect that cross out for a corner in the second half and had Mr Friend pointed at the spot, there would have been only one winner of the game - and it wouldn't have been West Ham.
Forget the table for now, look at the performances. We were shit at Millwall, shit at home to Peterborough, shit against Ipswich, shit at Southampton, shit at Brighton and very, very average at Palace. So, leaving aside the Blackpool game - when we played 4-4-2, we have been crap for some weeks now. Our luck will run out soon, mark my words. And God help us if O'Neill arrives at Upton Park as the manager of Leicester this weekend. How ironic would that be?