Love him or hate him as most seem to do, Big Sam has done an admirable job of driving Bolton Wanderers up the Premiership table. What gives us something to think on at WHU is that about a year and half ago we were battling it out with Bolton on the last day of the season to avoid relegation. Even with a supposedly better club than Bolton, we still made the drop. How our fortunes have changed! I would not say we have gone in totally opposite directions, but some of the parallels and the ironies are there. While Bolton is slowly ascending into 4th spot now and competing with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, ManU and company, we are struggling somewhat to maintain a playoff position in the championship and having difficult times with teams like Plymouth, Notts Forest and Cardiff, to name a few. Whereas Bolton has been consolidating its squad and adding quality to it, under Brown, we have been selling our brightest prospects. Now, arguably, Pardew has done what he can to get in loan signings and to make relatively inexpensive deals; however, the loans are not sufficient for long-term building and as far as some of the purchases go, I am still trying to grasp some of his decisions like buying heavily hyped “future prospects” like McAnuff and Nowland and then selling them, but that is another story altogether. Big Sam seems motivate his players to play above themselves against superior opposition, while we seem to be looking for excuses too often about why we are unable to put together consistently top performances against supposedly inferior opponents. Some of these situations have simply given me pause to think about how much a shrewd manager can mean to a club. For all of us who are thinking about “what might have been” had we survived or had we had different management (the chairman included) at the Club, we have become the West Ham Wonderers.