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Thursday March 27, 2014 MYT 7:47:01 AM
Thursday March 27, 2014 MYT 7:48:23 AM
West Ham United's Joe Cole (front) challenges Hull City's Curtis Davies during their English Premier League soccer match at the Boleyn Ground in London March 26, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning
LONDON (Reuters) - West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce suffered an ignominious first after 43 years in football as his side were booed by their own fans despite winning a crucial relegation clash on Wednesday.
Allardyce's relationship with his own supporters was at a low ebb after they lost three matches on the spin, but there was little solace to be found in returning to winning ways with a 2-1 victory against 10-man Hull City.
"I've never been a place where I won and got booed," Allardyce told reporters after his side moved nine points clear of the relegation zone.
"I started at 16, got into the first team at 18 and I'm 59 now and I have never been in a place where we have won and got booed.
"At halftime players were talking more about fans booing them than the game. Fans affect players. We don't need them on the players' backs when we are coming off three defeats. They have to stay and help them win.
"They are frustrated. I get frustrated. I want the players to play better and take advantage more of the 10 men, but you don't at this level.
"People are organised, wait for an opportunity to suck you in and expose you, even with 10 men. It's not an easy task and we should all be very grateful."
West Ham were in the driving seat after 26 minutes when referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot and sent off Hull keeper Allan McGregor after a coming together with Mohamed Diame, allowing Mark Noble to score.
Despite being a man down, however, Hull drew level through Nikica Jelavic, who deflected Tom Huddlestone's free kick past a wrong-footed Adrian.
A comical own-goal from Hull City's James Chester put the hosts back in front but Allardyce was left cocking his ear in disbelief as fans greeted the final whistle with a chorus of jeers.
West Ham captain Kevin Nolan, who played under Allardyce at his former club Bolton Wanderers, leapt to his manager's defence.
"Sam Allardyce doesn't just keep teams up," he said.
"He had Bolton in the top 10, got us to the top six. When you give him the chance, he builds a strong team. He doesn't get the credit he deserves. He doesn't just keep teams up, he builds good squads.
"He has taken a lot of flack here, it is very surprising, but people have their opinions and you have to take it on the chin."
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ed Osmond)
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