West Ham manager Sam Allardyce feels the Upton Park faithful have grown to appreciate his ability after initial concerns regarding his suitability for the job.
Allardyce achieved his sole aim of promotion back to the Premier League last season, but there were those who felt the former Bolton boss would create a physical approach not always associated with the club.
This year, though, has seen the pre-campaign relegation candidates go from strength to strength, and the manager feels he has shown the fans that West Ham can be successful under his guidance.
Allardyce told reporters: "I have felt the whole of this season to be different because we are no longer the creme de la creme, as we were in the Championship. We’re backs to the wall sometimes and the supporters understand that.
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“This season, too, our home form has been really good when it was a problem for a while last term.
“Even when we’ve lost, the crowd has appreciated what we’ve tried to do. The Chelsea turnaround was a huge booster for everybody.”
Fans felt that Allardyce's well-renowned style of play would tarnish their legacy for producing neat footballers, but the 58-year-old revealed that he knows just as much about the club as the crowd do.
He said: “When I knew I was coming here, I contacted a number of people who are West Ham through and through and they told me what the fans really commit to.
“They like to see somebody wearing the shirt who is committed to giving 100 per cent. Obviously, entertainment value is incorporated in that. So you’ve got to find skilful players who can create and you’ve got to find ones who can defend.
“This has to be the DNA of any successful club. But nobody wants to talk about it because you can get stigmatised, as I have been before."
The possibility of a move to the Olympic Stadium still looms large for the Hammers and Allardyce admits that, should he still be in a job, he would be thrilled to lead his men out at a fantastic new venue.
He added: “For every manager, the sack is just around the corner but the Olympic Stadium is a nice light at the end of the tunnel.
“It would be a massive achievement for anyone to stay at a club that long these days. But after a number of experiences, you get a confidence in your own abilities. If you don’t have that, you won’t survive.”