Five things… that need to happen to get Big Sam back at West Ham

1 Some kind of scandal

The idea of Sam Allardyce returning to manage West Ham United, the club who opted against renewing his contract 16 months ago amid much fan unhappiness with his playing style, would have seemed preposterous a few weeks ago. But does it still? Possibly, given that the Dudley-born tactician is just one game into his dream job as England coach. But what about if he compromised his lofty position somehow? For instance by trying to circumvent FA rules for personal financial gain, labelling his own bosses stupid and greedy, slagging off the royal family and mocking a fellow manager’s speech impediment. Granted it’s all a bit far-fetched, but if that happened you’d imagine it could probably get Allardyce sacked!

2 Slaven Bilic loses three in a row

The Hammers’ current boss is much-loved in east London, far more than Allardyce ever was, after developing an exciting attacking style that provided the perfect antidote to four years of his predecessor’s drudgery. But recently, the Croatian’s panache has eluded him. West Ham have made their worst ever start to a Premier League season, and it was reported on Tuesday that Bilic will be sacked if his side fail to win any of their next three games - against Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Sunderland. It sounds unthinkable, but so did losing three in a row to Watford, West Brom and Southampton while conceding 11 goals in the process.

3 West Ham say they will attract a “top, top manager”

Let’s suppose that Bilic fails to rediscover his mojo and is fired before the end of the month, it’s not hard to predict what would happen next. West Ham, in their enormous new stadium and with ambitions to become bigger than Brazil, would declare their intention to appoint a manager worthy of the club’s stature. Co-chairman David Sullivan would go on record to state that the Hammers’ were in discussions with a coach who is “cleverer than Guardiola”, “more successful than Ferguson” and “better-looking than Mourinho”. Then he would send an email to every coach in the Champions League and wait for the phone to ring.

4 West Ham fail to attract a top, top manager

After hanging up on Brendan Rodgers for the fifth time that day, Sullivan would take a moment to reassess the situation. Gazing out of his office window across West Ham’s training ground, the sight of Simone Zaza falling over would give him a jolt of horror as he realises he has made a terrible mistake. The same mistake, in fact, he made in the summer when he promised to sign a top, top striker, only to find that none of them wanted to join West Ham. With the Hammers rooted to the bottom of the table, and interim boss Julian Dicks facing a six-month ban for hurling Mark Clatterburg over the roof of the London Stadium, it will dawn on Sullivan that he quickly needs to find a streetwise coach who can get them out of this mess. Someone with years of experience and a proven track record in evading the drop.

5 Truth and reconciliation

Meanwhile, back in Dudley, the sack has hit Big Sam hard. He’s been sitting on the sofa for four days watching Sky Sports News and eating nothing but Hula Hoops, but he is aroused from this funk when Sullivan appears on screen stating that West Ham are seeking a “streetwise coach who has a proven track record in evading the drop and is also better-looking than Jose Mourinho”. Allardyce catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Bearded and bedraggled, covered in crumbs, but still thunderously handsome. He runs to his study and spends the next three days and three nights typing away ferociously on his laptop. Entitling his manuscript ‘The West Ham Way, by Big Sam Allardyce’, he posts it to the London Stadium and waits for the phone to ring. The following morning, there is a knock at his front door. It’s Sullivan, his eyes welling up with tears. They hug.

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