Better Call Big Sam

Better Call Big Sam

Matt Nawrat presents an ode to the veteran Englishman, and first port-of-call when you’re looking for a managerial quick-fix

When perusing Sam Allardyce’s CV, it is striking that he has (thus far) maintained his record of avoiding relegation from the top flight. Having successfully steered his beloved Bolton Wanderers (2001-02/2002-03), Blackburn Rovers (2008-09), a dismal Sunderland side (2015-16) and Crystal Palace (2016-17) to safety, could a potential move to Everton present a new chance for the Englishman?

Despite these rumours, Allardyce indicated that Crystal Palace would be his last club role upon his resignation in May 2017. However, perhaps the opportunity for an extended tenure at a larger club may be enough to tempt him into action.

In 2012, Big Sam famously joked that – despite his successes – he was doomed to inadequacy, and that he would only be given a job at a top-four club if his surname was “Allardici”. However, despite the Toffees’ struggles this season, a role at Goodison would certainly represent a step-up for the beloved manager.

Big Sam’s only extended roles thus far have been with Bolton Wanderers (1999-2007) and West Ham United (2011-2015), with much of his work coming from fleeting, near-philanthropic stays at struggling clubs. Even his foray into international coaching was rather brief, lasting just 67 days (and only one match) for England in 2016. But does this string of sackings bother Big Sam?

Amusingly, after being dismissed by Newcastle after just one season, Allardyce told inquisitive reporters: “The only decisions I’m making at the moment are whether I have tea, coffee, toast or cornflakes in the morning.”

Because of such refreshing passivity, and in spite of the corruption allegations that surrounded his eventual dismissal from the England role, Allardyce has always been a fan-favourite, and would certainly inject a feel-good factor if appointed by Everton. But is it realistic to assume that Big Sam would last in a managerial role at Goodison Park?

Undoubtedly, Bill Kenwright and the Everton hierarchy do have a propensity for loyalty (at least in footballing terms). However, as many critics suggest, Big Sam’s long-ball, ‘negative football’ approach may be untenable on a long-term basis. This was certainly a factor in his departure from West Ham, as he was regularly berated by fans, who felt disgruntled by his style of play.

Never one for mincing words, Allardyce’s popularity hasn’t always extended to the opposing technical area. Upon holding Mourinho’s Chelsea to a 0-0 draw in 2014, Allardyce joked: “He can’t take it, can he? He can’t take it because we’ve out-tactic-ed him, out-witted him. He just can’t cope. […] He can tell me all he wants. I don’t give a s***e, to be honest.”

On a positive note, a new role at Everton would give Big Sam the chance to further pursue his fondest hobby: beating Arsene Wenger. On his feud with the Frenchman, Big Sam cruelly admitted in his autobiography: “The more I wound him up, the more I liked it.”

Sam Allardyce, unfortunately, is a dying breed. In the mould of Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson, his quick wit and no-nonsense tactics are strongly missed in the Premier League – at least by this reporter. In the era of mega-contracts and overseas investment, let us take inspiration from the humble manager from Dudley. Eloquently phrased, and increasingly relevant: “All this tippy tappy stuff everybody keeps going on about as the right way to play football is all a load of b******s!”

Featured image: Wikimedia

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