According to official figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, there are over 8.5 million domestic canines in this country. That's not surprising, as most people with any semblance of feeling in their heart cannot fail to be seduced by a soppy, helpless little puppy snuffling around their feet. Some of these innocent little creatures turn out to be highly intelligent, doing jobs invaluable to society. Some less cerebral but still important in our day to day lives. Some provide no more than company for their owners. Some are aggressive, whilst others will shower you with affection asking no more than a pat on the head in recognition of their efforts.
These are all recognisable traits, but above all of their undeniable qualities, at the very zenith of their C.V. is the biggest virtue they have..LOYALTY! It doesn't matter how you treat them, good or bad, love or abuse, they will come back for more. What other collection of society would show such unyielding blind faith in what they believe in?
You and me......Football Fans.
I'm not talking about the guy who has the latest shirt, or a season ticket to the most recent Premiership winners " 'cause he's got a few quid". I'm talking about the fella who still cherishes the programme he bought on a filthy night in god knows where, when he had no money, didn't have a ticket when he set off, but blagged one anyway when he got there. He missed the coach to get back, spent a day and a half hitching home, and did it all again the next week.
All he asked for was a pat on the head. What he usually got was a kick in the proverbials from the people who knew he would be back again next week anyway.
This neatly brings me round to West Ham.
The reason I mention the 8.5 million dogs figure is to try and bring context. That equates to one for every four households in this country. They are everywhere. You will see them every time you go for a walk, to the shops, on the beach, in the country, and every time you go to the pub there will be a big daft soppy dog somewhere on the premises.
And believe me, somewhere in that pub there will be a lovable friendly "Cockney Boy".
When you find him(and trust me you won't have to search too hard), he will adore you for thinking that Julian Dicks was the best left back the world has seen. He will buy you a drink if you agree that they did indeed win the World Cup, and the slightest derogatory remark in the direction of Millwall will see you carried shoulder high for all to witness.
Mostly though, you will be on the receiving end of a narrative, describing how it it's in their DNA to play the beautiful attractive football that they, and only they, have ever allowed the world to see.
So you can understand my glee when my local "Iron" was faced with the reality that "Big Fat Sam" was the next incumbent at the academy of football.
"He'll have to change, cos we won't stand for any of that Bolton long ball b....x", is the overriding memory I have of that conversation.
What he didn't account for was his clubs need to stay in the upper tier, and also that he fell into the trap of believing the long ball tripe that was so frequently pointed in the direction of his new manager.
Allardyce is never going to have his teams play "pretty" football simply to be lauded by all and sundry. But he is an astute man, and at the front of the line to learn, digest, accept and implement new coaching innovations, mostly way before the majority of his contemperaries.
Sam Allardyce, (or Allardicio as he once described himself) will see this through, and it will start with a victory over the struggling Sunderland tomorrow.
Allardyces' self regard can sometimes appear to be delusional, but just ask Bolton fans where they would rather be now!
If West Ham truly wish to stay in the premiership, we'll be seeing a lot more of Sam.
Beautiful Football in the Championship is not really what my friendly "Iron" really wants, so he had better be careful what he wishes for.