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The Hammers chief feels that people are unable to shake off the "long-ball" reputation with which they tagged his manager in the past but argues that criticism is unfair

West Ham chairman David Gold believes that manager Sam Allardyce has struggled to lose the "long-ball" reputation with which he is often tagged.

The Hammers' co-owner argues that, while the 58-year-old may have opted for a direct approach while in charge of other clubs, this is not the case in his current assignment, positing that this misconception is why many people find him "hard to love".

"Sam could not be described as a pussy cat or a cute panda, someone you might want to pick up and give a big cuddle to, and that is why he may be hard to love but you cannot question the job he has done at West Ham," Gold told ESPN.

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"He still gets criticism for the style of football he promotes but I believe that is because he got a reputation for playing long-ball football a long time ago and that has been hard for him to kick.

"Does a Sam Allardyce team play a more direct style than Barcelona? Yes, they do, but that is true of a majority of teams all over the world.

"You will get the purists like Roberto Martinez and Arsene Wenger, who will go to their grave telling their teams to pass the ball, but they are in the minority."

West Ham finished 10th last season in what was their first campaign back in the Premier League following a stint in the Championship and Gold now wants the club to continue their progression and become an established top-flight club.

"We want to build on that and become an established Premier League side by the time we get to the iconic Olympic Stadium in three years' time," he continued. "That means top-half finishes in the table for the next two years and then we will look to kick on from there."

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