Damn the man! We hate him. And hate him with good reason. He is a tactical Neanderthal. He is arrogant. He is coarse and crude and belligerent. But bugger him, just when you think you have him down and defenceless, he grabs your foot in mid kick and flips you over backwards!
Let's get one thing straight. Greenwood would not have won today's game after a 5-0 and 6-0 hammering. Nor would Lyall. Nor Bonds. Nor Redknapp. Nor Zola. Nor even Brooking. Maybe, just maybe, Pardew might have pulled it off, but I doubt it, not with the injuries and suspensions that forced Allardyce to start with Johnson at centre back, a 75% fit Carlton Cole up front and Collison & Taylor in midfield. On paper, out starting eleven was Championship quality at best.
And Cardiff were up for this game for a vengeance, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge for his first home Premiership game and Bellamy available after injury. The match had 3-0 written all over it at kick off, with Cardiff slated for the three goals! Add in a sickening injury to Demel after ten minutes and the cruel dismissal of Tomkins within thirty seconds of Cole being replaced by Carroll, and the result was nothing less than miraculous!
True we enjoyed a slice of luck when the goal line technology went AWOL with Kim's deflected shot looking as if it had bounced a yard behind the line before Adrian was clumsily fouled by Frazier Campbell. But that effort and one brilliant reaction save from the Spaniard in the second half apart, we looked pretty solid at the back, despite having Johnson at centre half and McCarthorse filling in as a left footed right back - and that was before Tomkins' dismissal! By the end, we had Diarra drafted in to that makeshift back four, and we still kept a clean sheet. Amazing.
And no matter how much you may loathe Allardyce, you have to give him credit for that! The players started the game as if they knew they were going to win it, and chased and harried all afternoon once a lead had been established.
Our first goal was superb. Taylor played a lovely pass to Jarvis who delivered a first time perfect cross to Cole, who met it with a perfect shot wide of Marshall. Classy.
And the second was just as good. Carroll collected the ball and everybody expected him to head to the corner to run down the last ninety seconds of the game; everybody except for captain for the day Mark Noble. Quite how Noble found the energy to run the length of the pitch at that stage, his critics might like to explain, but he burst beyond Carroll, took the pass into his stride, looked up, and from the angle, buried the perfect shot into the bottom corner of the net. If that had been Gerrard, the BBC commentator would have had an orgasm on the spot! Brilliant!
Who were the heroes on the day? McCartney played as if his life depended on the result. Noble threw himself in front of countless shots and ran and ran and ran. Adrian was superb. Rat looked like an international defender. Taylor was a revelation, covering as much ground as Noble, playing that superb pass for Cole's goal, and like Noble, chucking himself in front of shot after shot. And Jarvis looked like a Premiership player too!
We are out of the bottom three. There is hope. Carroll got through 20 minutes. Cole looks a decent understudy and has now recorded the second highest number of Premiership appearances for West Ham - an amazing stat!
Here's hoping Allardyce can recruit another two or three players. Relegation may not be inevitable after all!
Player Ratings: Adrian 9; Demel 5, Johnson 6, Tomkins 6, Rat 7; Collison 6, Noble 8, Taylor 8, Jarvis 8, Downing 7; Cole 8 Subs: McCartney 7, Carroll 6, Diarra 6