You are right, if it's an option I usually recommend it. They can be a great option if you also control E2. If SERM fails, you can go straight to pinning T with no problems. You can't always go from T to SERM with success. Also, keep in mind that if a thread is strictly about primary hypogonadism or post-cycle, I tend to stay out of the thread. My knowledge about HCG / T / HGH / pinning / creams is more limited compared to my knowledge of SERMS + AI. Therefore, what looks like a 100% SERM recommendation rate is more like 40% recommendation, 60% silence.
From your thread, IMHO, I suspect your sides were from a lack of controlling E2, which can be a problem with SERM or injectable T.
In this case, he's a getting a little old for a SERM, but he mentioned cost. SERMs can be very cheap (injecting T also) and they are very convenient. People don't always have success with topical T (also can be cost prohibitive) and there may be some resistance from his doctor about him injecting.