West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, still coming to grips with two surprise losses in New Zealand, is facing the prospect of being sacked before the start of the English Premier League.
Several top English news sources were reporting that today as the Hammers soaked up consecutive losses to the Wellington Phoenix (2-1) and Sydney FC (3-1) on a disastrous preseason tour.
Those results won't be the hammer blow on Allardyce though they won't be looked at favourably by a board reportedly at odds with the manager.
The Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail and Daily Star were all reporting Allarydce's imminent departure.
And it stems from a boardroom battle over squad recruitment and management.
Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold are reported to be at odds with some of Allardyce's signings, started by last year's monstrous deal to nab striker Andy Carroll, who is now facing four months on the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury on the disastrous visit to New Zealand.
It's been reported that Allardyce and the club are "miles apart" on the future of Ravel Morrison who was left at home to recover from groin surgery. He was loaned to QPR last season and is being courted by other clubs.
The Hammers' hierarchy have publicly criticised their manager for his transfer policy in recent weeks.
Allardyce only just survived the last English season as the Hammer's narrowly beat off relegation.
The Mail is reporting of a behind the scenes deal that was going to give Allardyce 10 games this season to get things sorted out.
But they suggest he now "faces the sack before the season starts".
West Ham legend Tony Gale added fuel to the speculation when he told talkSPORT: "To me, it looks like his [Allardyce] days are numbered.
"With the apointment of Teddy Sheringham as attacking coach to improve the football and stuff like that, I think they [David Sullivan and co-owner David Gold] are undermining him.
"Unless he gets those results early on in the season, then I think his days are numbered by the way the co-chairman is talking."
West Ham are now desperately looking to boost their strike force with Carroll injured. Portuguese international, Hugo Almeida, and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o, are names being mentioned as targets.
West Ham's tour of New Zealand has been questioned by the Mirror's football correspondent Tony Hopkinson.
He said the visits to the United States by heavyweights Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham made commercial sense.
"But what I cannot get my head around is what on earth West Ham and Newcastle are doing in New Zealand," he wrote.
"Sure, they are part of the promotional bandwagon, as foreign broadcasters clamour to fill Premier League coffers with astronomical sums. But wouldn't West Ham, in particular, have been far better served staying closer to home, marching around east London and Essex ahead of next season when they have the Olympic Stadium to fill?
"They could have been selling themselves to a new generation of fans. Instead, they played Stevenage and Ipswich away before setting off on a 23,500-mile round-trip to the North Island for games against Australian A-League sides Wellington Phoenix and Sydney, and will stop off in Germany for three games on their way home.
"No doubt defender Winston Reid has enjoyed the chance to grab a few extra days in his homeland, but the whole exercise seems a waste of time and energy from a purely footballing point of view.''
He added "the Hammers' season-ticket hotline will hardly have been ringing off the hook" after their losses in New Zealand.
"And it won't look great from a marketing point of view when images of a half-empty Olympic Stadium are being broadcast all over the world in 18 months' time.
"So leave the travelling to the big four or five, lads, because they are the ones who are really selling the Premier League in foreign lands anyway.
"And content yourselves with the knowledge that you will be richer for it in every way."
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