Written by Andy Street

Dear Sam,

It was with some interest that we, at Five Year Plan Fanzine, read your protracted attacks on Dougie Freedman in the wake of his post-match comments after the recent 2-2 draw between your West Ham side and Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.  Whilst many Palace fans have resorted to pure vitriol in the wake of your somewhat inane ramblings on the West Ham Official Website and in the Evening Standard, we would merely like to extend a cordial hand of sympathy and friendship.

After all, given your assertions that you would find it easy to manage the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United, it must be quite some shock to find yourself working in the Championship. That must be tough, particularly having spent the GDP of a small eastern European nation on the wages of John Carew and Manuel Almunia, and having a difficult board of directors who are hellbent on returning to the Premier League at the first attempt. 

We also know that West Ham fans can be a demanding lot, and on that front we genuinely feel for you. It must be difficult, having been sacked from your last two managerial roles at Newcastle and Blackburn in fairly humiliating circumstances, and having lost your column at the now defunct News of the World, to find yourself having to deal with a set of fans who still like to remind everyone that they won the World Cup and are the self-appointed Academy of Football. 

That you have already lost two games at home with a large proportion of the crowd on your back before you’ve even had a chance to tuck into your advent calendars can’t be nice.  Admittedly you have a Premier League level squad, which should comfortably win this league, and have already spent exorbitant amounts of money in adding to it, but it can’t be easy to get through your methods and objectives to some of those stars when you are clearly on a downward trajectory in your career and have been widely denigrated, derided and disliked by fans of your last two clubs.

In these circumstances, it’s utterly understandable that you would try to shift attention elsewhere. Frankly, we would try to do the same thing.  It also makes complete sense to attempt to attack a younger manager in doing so, since they would usually not bite back quite so quickly and particularly given that you no longer have the backing of Sir Alex Ferguson, such is his lack of interest in the lower leagues. Whilst many would say you have a responsibility as a senior figure at the LMA to encourage, rather than disparage, a bright young manager, we have to applaud you for using a position of power for your own benefit.  After all, number one always has to come first, and we would be the first to say that with great power comes great opportunity to sort out oneself – bravo.

It is, therefore, with great pleasure that we wish to offer you this free t-shirt courtesy of the Crystal Palace fans, as a sort of retirement present, since you probably won’t last the season at Upton Park, and will probably find it incredibly difficult having been sacked from three consecutive jobs to find work thereafter. We, at FYP, always wish to demonstrate historical awareness, and we realise that managers of your ilk represent a bygone era, which is very much an integral part of English footballing history and which should at no cost be forgotten.  We want to thank you, as without managers, and indeed characters, like you we would not remember quite so readily why percentages football which predominantly involves fighting for the second ball from a big front man is of the past, and why young managers like Dougie Freedman, who attempt to impose a passing style upon their players and bring through young stars, are of the future.

Moreover, when the inevitable happens and the trigger-happy board bow to the demands of the Boleyn faithful in showing you the door, we would also like, given your love of supporting arguments with data and percentages, to offer you the role of FYP’s Official Statistician.  We will, of course, be building the arguments ourselves, since your recent columns have shown demonstrable proof that your interpretation of raw data could do with some improvement, but we feel that it would provide you with a lucrative and rewarding future career path after football management.

Finally, best of luck for the rest of the season, or at least until your P45 arrives in the post – you’re probably going to need it.

Yours Faithfully,

Five Year Plan Fanzine