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Does Allardyce get the credit he deserves?

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Phil McNulty | 19:50 UK time, Saturday, 4 December 2010

Ewood Park

Sam Allardyce admitted defeat after victory. No-one, he insists, will ever give Blackburn Rovers or their manager the credit they deserve.

This is not strictly true. Allardyce, for one, is never slow to talk up his own talents or the achievements of his players. In the absence of what he regards as their due from elsewhere, perhaps he is right to do so.

For a manager who is unlikely to ever take charge of one of the elite Premier League clubs, Allardyce cuts an oddly divisive figure in the court of public opinion.

From the methods he employs to his very obvious refusal to indulge in false modesty, such as claiming he is more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid than Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers, Allardyce provokes a reaction.

He was reading from a familiar script after Blackburn's 3-0 win against Wolves put them into eighth place in the table and sent Mick McCarthy's side to the bottom of the Premier League.

More on McCarthy later, but for Allardyce it was a sweet victory as he said: "We never get credit for things, but that's the way it is. We are just a small town club enjoying ourselves by winning football matches. The fortress of Ewood Park is back and the walls are getting higher."

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce

When Allardyce arrived at Ewood Park, Blackburn were second from bottom in the table - photo: Press Association

I asked Allardyce whether he would ever get the credit he feels he should and what he might need to do to get it, and he explained: "Keep winning football matches. The most important thing is winning and entertaining and I think our fans will be happy we have beaten Aston Villa and Wolves at home in consecutive games without conceding a goal.

"If you get the maximum out of your players you can't ask any more than that."

And, with the exception of a spell at Newcastle United that ended in the sack, this is usually what Allardyce does, and whether outsiders regard the manner as pleasing on the eye or not is a matter of supreme indifference to this most self-assured of characters.

Of course there is an element of bluff about Allardyce's complaint, an "us against the world" attitude that serves his purposes well - but there is also an element of truth.

Praising Allardyce is not fashionable, or in many areas popular, but Blackburn did mix passing football with their usual trademark expertise from set-pieces here. Indeed, there was a surreal spell near the conclusion when Blackburn drew jeers from some of their own supporters for a passage of keep-ball designed to secure the result. Allardyce might have appreciated the irony.

And if, as we are constantly told, the Premier League and management are results-based businesses, then Allardyce's achievements at Ewood Park stand up to the closest scrutiny.

Some of the criticism he attracted has been justified, especially when he appeared to join forces with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to deliver a trumped-up accusation that former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez had shown him and Blackburn a lack of respect two season ago.

But Allardyce is wrong when he says he and Blackburn do not get the credit they deserve, because they will get it right here.

When he succeeded Paul Ince in December 2008, they were second from bottom of the table. In two years he has secured their safety, taken them to 10th place last season and has put them in the upper reaches again, albeit in a season in its infancy.

Allardyce's approach and style of play is a taste many will never acquire, and so much is based on football's percentages that he calculates meticulously. It remains to be seen how high they finish in the Premier League in this campaign, but it is a safe bet Blackburn will not return to the lowly position in which he found them while he stays at Ewood Park.

In fact, Mike Ashley's decision to bundle him hastily out of Newcastle United on a tide of adverse public opinion backfired because, for the derision Allardyce attracts in some quarters, it is unlikely they would have ended up in the Championship under his stewardship.

He is proud of his appliance of the game's scientific side and attention to fine detail, announcing he had given his players two days off this week as he was worried about the effects of mental fatigue caused by extended car journeys to Blackburn's training ground in adverse weather.

Allardyce admitted he needed to rest himself after the 7-1 thrashing at Manchester United last Saturday. He revealed "an inquest" had been held, and Blackburn produced a performance to refresh players and manager.

As two of the teams recently named and shamed as players in the Premier League's dark side by Fulham's Danny Murphy earlier this season, Blackburn and Wolves produced a game to enjoy at a freezing Ewood Park as heavy rain washed away the snow.

Wolves opened as if they would sweep Blackburn away as Steven Ward and Ronald Zubar tested the woodwork, but once David Dunn headed in following a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner, the game was more or less up.

Shoddy defending allowed Jason Roberts to bully Steve Mouyokolo in pursuit of Michel Salgado's pass to set up a second for Brett Emerton. Wolves were wretched again when Ryan Nelsen turned in a precise Pedersen free-kick for Blackburn's third.

Wolves roused themselves late on, but it was academic other than for allowing Paul Robinson to demonstrate that he is still good enough to play for England with fine saves from Stephen Hunt and George Elokobi.

McCarthy's post-match briefing was belated, blunt and brief. It would be no surprise if his message to his players was delivered in even more stark and brutal terms - but the bottom line is that they do not appear to be listening.

No clean sheets in 16 league games is a defining statistic. If this continues it will be a long, hard season for all the talent of players like Matt Jarvis. McCarthy either needs to find a new message to make his point, especially to his defenders, or he needs new players.

Armed with finance from Blackburn's new Indian owners, Allardyce will be looking to make tweaks of his own - but his gaze is set up rather than down.

And he will continue to manage in the manner he employs with a concrete self-confidence, whether it brings him credit or not.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Sam Allardyce is a very down-to-earth kind of guy who tells it like it is. The national press based in London sees him as being a rough diamond, unpolished & uncultured, so they don't give the guy any respect. Over the years he has had a fair amount of success with mid-table mid-market teams operating on tight budgets.
    Sam's only big failure was when he went to Newcastle and was fired after less than a season. That was a big challenge for anyone at a big club where they were starved for success for years, and many at the time believed he wasn't given enough time, not given a fair chance, not given respect there.
    After the Bolton years, getting them into Europe on a low budget, and before he went to Newcastle, there were some who tipped him as a candidate for the England job. Who knows, it might have been a different story then.

  • Comment number 2.

    Having watched some of Allardyce's sides against Villa over the years, I have often seen physical sides reliant on direct football and set pieces. These are supplemented with the occasional flair player such as Okocha or Pedersen.

    In comparison, having watched Martin O'Neill's Villa side too during that time, the styles were very similar. The main difference is media management, which MON is clearly better at.

  • Comment number 3.

    Today Blackburn, tomorrow Real Madrid.

    Errrm no - Allardyce is everything that is wrong with the Premiership.

    Old school, long balls, crunching tackles, set pieces.

    So, so boring.

    Let's have a leaf out of Holloway's book. Flair, passing, creativity.

    Championship beckons you Sam.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have to complement you again Phil as you have rightly decided to write about the other league sides that are not in the top 4. Doing your job correctly I should say.

    As for Allardyce, he shows the same delusion the media love to claim Arsene Wenger has. If Allardyce was not from the British Isles, he would get so much more ridicule from your media.

    Incidently Phil, what is your opinion on your media's impact in the World Cup bidding results? Do you think the British media should now aim to be a little less xenophobic when it comes to foreign teams and players? Or are you one of the people who wrongly claim the mdeia did not have a hand in the English bids downfall?

    As an Irish person, I wanted to see England get the World Cup, you guys deserved it!! But I can see why you didn't get it. Sepp Blatter also played his part.

    So, do you see the way the media operates in your country changing for the better or worse after this?

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't understand where this myth that Newcastle's sacking of Allardyce led to them being relegated comes from. People seem to forget that Keegan returned both good football and results to the team by the end of the 2007/08 season. It was the board's appointment of Dennis Wise and meddling behind Keegans back that saw us relegated.

    Allardyce arrived at Newcastle telling us (Newcastle fans) that the football wasn't going to be pretty, but we would get results. We got the ugly football, but with a distinct lack of results. It seemed that the longer he had to implement his style into the players, the worse the team became, after a promising start at Bolton on the opening day of the season. His record in the transfer market was poor. Massive wages being paid to ageing "stars" like Viduka, Geremi, Smith and Cacapa. All were useless for the Toon, except Smith's grit was handy in the Championship. Elsewhere, Beye was a good signing and Enrique has finally lived up to the 6mil that fat Sam splashed out on him.

    Allardyce is a good manager, but only at the so-called 'smaller clubs' where fans do not expect fantastic football and revel in getting scrappy results. At Newcastle the fans want to see good football, with the ball predominantly kept on the ground. Even from set-pieces (Allardyce's forte) we are ten times more threatening now under Hughton than we were under fat Sam, although I'm sure Carroll has something to do with that. In my opinion he will never succeed at a top club because of the pressure on the team to attack and play good football. Even Jose Mourinho felt he had to go to Barcelona and 'attack' this week when his natural instinct is to counter attack.

    Apparently, before one of his last games as Newcastle boss against Blackburn he spent 30 minutes discussing how to thwart Rovers before a Newcastle player finally piped up with: "But what do you want us to do when we've got the ball?"

  • Comment number 6.

    Quite frankly I think the man is an absolute idiot. His desperate courting of Sir Alex Ferguson week in week out is possibly the longest running joke ever. He is a deluded man.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't rate Allardyce, it has to be said. Neither do i rate MON. Has anyone ever listened to MON speak? The guy talks absolute nonsense. On those rare occasions when i do understand what MON is talking about, i usually disagree with him. Not a good manager, MON. Allardyce is just a nothing manager. Plays the game at it's most rudimentary level and expects plaudits for doing so? Nah, not from me mate. I don't have anything against Allardyce, mind, most managers in England go for the same set-up as an Allardyce team. In football, the facts and stats seldom tell us the whole truth - most often they tell us nothing of the truth!

  • Comment number 8.

    this article is a rare one indeed, i agree that sometimes things Big Sam does provide some of us fans with worry, but yet as has been pointed out he has secured us safety and is now bringing us back up the leauge table. as for newcastle fans perspectives complaining about the standard of football he plays, it only needs to be said the team they had when they got relegated was an impressive team, one that had been for years. Yet they still got the chop, which as much as they may hate it, Sam would have saved them from. Complaining about his style of football is such a pathetic thing to do in a comment, you dont get paid to write about what you think, because your oppinion isnt valid, i for one appriciate how much of a quality manager he is on the pitch. As for all the people who hate him, i think i speak for pretty much every Blackburn fan when i say, sour grapes. im proud to have him as my manager and proud to have players who can play with his style of football, because sure it at times isnt pretty. but hey we havnt been relegated under Sam and its safe to say we never will.

  • Comment number 9.

    I watched a Newcastle game he managed where they were so exposed on their right wing and everyone could see it apart from Big Sam (I think he add Alan Smith in central / right midfield). He made a substitution and the crowd groaned when he didn't put a right sided player on and they remained hammered down the wing.

    In other words he's not a great manager and he's nowhere near as good as thinks he is.

    Fair play to him he researches the latest fitness, tactics and what's going on in world football - he just doesn't have the same instincts that great managers have.

  • Comment number 10.

    # 8. At 11:40pm on 04 Dec 2010, blazerafe wrote:

    "Complaining about his style of football is such a pathetic thing to do in a comment, you dont get paid to write about what you think, because your oppinion isnt valid"

    What a load of utter tripe.

  • Comment number 11.

    He's a good manager who works with what he's got.

    He likes to get a solid foundation, and from there build on it with flair and ability, but always retains that solid foundation to fall back on when needed.

    Never understood all the negativity aimed at him, as the same tactics get adopted by more successful managers too - Mourhino and SAF are hardly reticent to return to a physical, long-ball game when it suits them.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think the reason Allardyce divides opinion so much is more to do with the fact that he coaches a style of football that is not easy on the eye, but he still gets results.
    Most football purists simply don't enjoy watching teams knock long balls over the top for a target man - they prefer to see that Arsene Wenger style of quick, short passes that carve open defences. The fact, then, that Allardyce plays this 'anti-football' and yet still enjoys success seems to upset the advocates of the beautiful game.
    For what its worth, I'd rather watch Arsenal that Blackburn every time, but I think you have to give big Sam his dues: What he does is rarely pretty, but it does the job.

  • Comment number 13.

    Good blog, Phil.
    As you say, Big Sam is a divisive character but he is also open-minded and pioneering, especially in the ultra-traditional world of English football management. More power to him.

    Nappeunnom ;)

  • Comment number 14.

    lets get back to the point - does sam get the credit he deserves ?
    of course he does , saving us from certain relegation under ince to a mid table finish last season and we continue-as we did today-to win the must win games.
    we know it's not going to be pretty but it is effective and we are still watching premier league teams at ewood even if we at times don't look like one.
    last season once our p.l.status was assured we played some very good stuff and got the results also which frustrates us roverites when we go 4-5-1 at home against the "lesser" teams,even today at 3-0 up we were more concerned with not conceding than scoring more and maybe recouping some of last weeks goal differential.
    yes he does get credit- the man get's results.
    dogeared says championship beckons - can't see it myself and as for crunching tackles have a look at the fair play league- near the top of that i beleive and no bookings again today.
    credit where credits due ,but even us roverites won't get carried away.

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't think Big Sam gets the praise he probably deserves. Is the football pretty? Not really. Is it effective? Certainly. He is making the best of a situation with the resources he has at his disposal and he ALWAYS does well. In football, you don't get any points for style.

  • Comment number 16.

    Allardyce has one singluar method. And if he builds the squad around it, that method usually works - just. It's ugly, often dull to watch, but it gets results.

    He built and kept Bolton up. But then again, look at Bolton now: doing just as well as they did under Big Sam, but playing fantastic attacking football.

    He's keeping Blackburn up. They were poor under Ince, but not a bad squad - retaining the core of the successful team that Hughes built. And they had players suited to Allardyce's physical game.

    He was exposed at Newcastle because he inherited players not suited to his style of playing (hoofing balls over the top to Martins and Owen = fail). He tried to shoehorn in players to a game there were completely wrong for, instead of changing his tactics to suit their strengths. Followed by a number of panic buys, of which only two players ever turned out good (and neither of them while Allardyce was still in charge)

    But what was more revealing with his time at Newcastle was his enormous ego: a total lack of a Plan B, inability to adapt and a complete refusal to accept error: It "wasn't his fault that the results were bad, it wasn't his fault the players were demoralised, it wasn't his fault the fans were unhappy, and it wasn't his fault he was fired"

    Newcastle were in 11th place when Allardyce was fired - but only a couple of points from the relegation battle, with all the lower teams played (and points dropped) and games against the big teams to come, team totally demoralised.

    To say they wouldn't have been relegated under Big Sam reveals someone that didn't actually watch how they played under him. Utterly dreadful. Which is why the regular chants that rang out at St James Park were "you don't know what you're doing!"

    Keegan got that same team playing fantastic football and kept them up, emphatically. Then Dennis Wise happened - but that's another story!

  • Comment number 17.

    In a results-driven industry I think that you have to give Sam Allardyce credit as a good manager. His teams will rarely play "pretty" football, but as long as his team is winning then that doesn't really matter, does it?

    He worked wonders with Bolton on a shoestring budget. He managed to sign reasonably big players - maybe in their twilight years - to smaller clubs. Who would have thought Anelka would have signed for Bolton?

    If he had the career that he has had, but played "pretty" football, I think people would give him a lot more respect. Personally I think he is a great manager that is very underrated by many football fans.

  • Comment number 18.

    [sigh] Not another blog about Blackburn

  • Comment number 19.

    He is a mid-table manager who can do a good job at a small club fighting relegation.

    He seems to think that he is a world-class manager who deserves to be managing Real Madrid or Inter.

    This is why he does get the ridicule he deserves.

  • Comment number 20.

    @LeeWonPen - unfortunately I feel that joke's run its course mate.

  • Comment number 21.

    Allardyce is the architect of his own embarrassment. He is the proverbial foot in mouth lothario, ever keen to offer opinions to any one who will listen. He will even bad-mouth a club he is employed by. He stated on Sky Sports that Blackburn had bought the title back in Dalglish's stint at the helm Whist this may be true, is it advisable or at least tactful for rovers fans to hear this coming from their manager?
    I agree with you Phil, that Sam is unlikely to manage one of the big clubs, but try telling him that. He sses Blackburn as a stop-gap, a way of paying the mortgage until his real talent is spotted and Real Madrid or ManU come calling. He is tactically one dimensional and this means fans who realise their club is never going to win the title don't even have the option of watching some attractive football every Saturday. Every season becomes a season of survuval - granted Allardyce is a specialist at avoiding relegation, but is that all there is?
    Holloway has the right idea and more promoted clubs are coming to the realisation that they may as well have a go and take some risks tactically. At best you might beat Liverpool at Anfield, at worst you send your fans home having had some entertaining football and proud of the players, despite a loss.
    Allardyce doesn't seem to recognise this, and has condemned all the teams he has managed to stagnant, boring football, always moaning about referees and bad luck etc. In one corner you have the new breed (Ian Holloway, Owen Coyle) and then you have the old survivalistas - Big Sam, Megson, Pulis. As fans I know which we would prefer...

  • Comment number 22.

    Ambitious Sam Allardyce requires financial support but will he get that by way of the present owners that are here for the money ? Mark Hughes has two games to save his job, Mohammed Al Fayed now has limitless funds, will Big Sam turn him down ?

  • Comment number 23.

    With all due respect to Sam, he is a clogger. That's how he played, and that's how he's always managed. I wouldn't dream of suggesting a defender can't create or manage a creative team, but Allardyce, alas, is a one-eyed, parochial, hoofing, clogger. Far from being "a good manager who works with what he's got" (#11), I believe he is narrow-minded & limited, forcing the players to conform to the only tactics he truly understands.

    Every time, he sets his teams up the same way, fills his squads with the same types. Big, physical, organised, don't concede. It's not wrong; good defense is a part of football too, so is good organisation; but let's not pretend he's something he's not. He's never going to send a team out to play in the manner of an Arsenal, a Real, a ManU, and as a consequence, he's never going to manage one of those teams.

    Sam Allardyce is a one-trick pony. It's a 40+ year old trick that still works, but to suggest that he deserves, or will ever get, praise for it is delusional.

  • Comment number 24.

    The issue with Allardyce is very simple, it's his personality (and appearance) that causes him to be such a divisive figure, not his style of football. The same direct, tactical, results-oriented approach to playing football games is employed by all of these managers:

    • Mourinho does it at Chelsea, Inter and now Real madrid and gets all the plaudits (except after their 5-0 hammering by Barcelona last week).

    • Martin O'Neil did it at Villa and he was a media darling.

    • Moyes has been doing it with Everton for the last 5 years or so and he's being touted as Ferguson's natural successor.

    • Hughton is doing it with Newcastle and he's loved by fans and media for bringing good results.

    • Hodgson did it with Fulham, it brought them the to the final of the Uefa cup and a whole host of fanboys in the press to keep saying what a brilliant season they'd had (depsite finishing below Blackburn).

    • Megson did it with Birmingham last season and he was praised to high heaven (Allardcye finished 10th level on points).

    The fact that Allardcye is insulted and hated at every opportunity by a large majority of 'football fans' reveals more about them than about him. Lots of football have always been basically ignorant and reactionary, watching and following football more for eveything that comes with it (the buzz, the gossip, the opportunity for banter and pub conversation, the way of life). The difference nowadays is that these peoplel are given a voice through the internet and as stated above the very nature of these 'fans' is to revel in the talking about football, so the ones who talk most and understand least are the ones whose voices you hear more. Coupled with this is the constant recycling and repeating of the stock comments associated with a team or a manager caused by the copy/paste journalism that has been the inevitable result of the ridiculous rime pressures on football writers to publish a match report 15 minutes after a game finishes.

    Allardyce is a great manager, who galvanises his teams and gets very impressive results even on tiny budgets (people tend to forget how weak Blackburn are financially, hence the surprise and confusion when they were purchased for £43 million - including debt- which is less than a top 4 side would spend on 2 players). His problems have nothign to do with football (as #2 says) but are all due to the way he comes across in the media to fans and pundits alike.
  • Comment number 25.

    Umm "expuddle" I think that Mr Mcleish was and still is the manager at Birmingham. Mr Megson ???

  • Comment number 26.

    expuddle, How much have you watched Newcastle play this season? You shouldn't just assume because we have Andy Carroll up front we deploy the same tactics we did under Big Sam.

    Under Big Sam we were hoofing the ball to Michael Owen & Obafemi Martins, really Sam? He is a one trick pony who refuses to change his ways. Under Hughton we play reasonable football (not amazing like typical Arsenal or current Bolton) but stuff that is fairly pleasing to watch.

    Sam was shown to be out of his depth at Newcastle - but I wont go into it because regardless of what I post people will come back with the same drivel. Two posters have already tried to explain what happened at Newcastle under Sam Allardyce and its been ignored so..

  • Comment number 27.

    There are lots of 'rough diamonds' managing in British football, in fact I often think many are like characters from Dickens novels, ugly but interesting faces and touch line antics that are akin to barrow boys or tic tac at race courses. It's also a myth that Blackburn play 'unsophisticated' crunch type football. They just play to their strengths.

    As a Kiwi writing from Kiwiland, most football fans here know that our success in getting to the World Cup finals and performing with some distinction was due to Ryan Nelsen's defensive tactical expertise as much as the coach's input. He's just one of the journeymen Blackburn team members who pull their weight. I bet Mark Hughes wishes had had some at Fulham.

  • Comment number 28.

    Sam is certainly the best English candidate for next England manager, his natural coaching ability has shone through over the past few months and he is very good with his media skills. Redknapp is totally overated and has to much baggage.

  • Comment number 29.

    Big Sam gets the credit and derison he deserves his teams play a type of football playing long balls and being very physical which does make them very boring watch unless you are a fan of that club.

    I totally disagree with 24 in that Hughton, Hodgson and Moyes play this type of football. They employ certain aspect such as being direct and being good defensively but they also try a passing game so avoiding the long ball. I think you meant Alex Mcleish not Gary Megson as he managed Bolton before Owen Coyle not birmingham. I think you missed out boring Stoke city and there manager Tony Pulis. I do agree that that he uses most of the same tactics that MON, Alex Mcleish (to a certain extent) and Mourinho and they all got praise especially Mourinhos Chelsea even though they were very boring to watch my mate who is a season ticket holder would fall asleep during most of the games during the season Mourinho managed.

  • Comment number 30.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
    divisive [dɪˈvaɪsɪv]
    1. causing or tending to cause disagreement or dissension

    Sam Aladyce: unanimously renowned to be a thundering, crashing, philistinic bore, whose contributions to premier league football include parking the bus, no score draws and breaking bones.

    Hmmmn... Where's the division, Phil?

  • Comment number 31.

    Having met Sam Allardyce on numerous occasions in a professional capacity I almost spat my tea all over my laptop when reading the very first line of the comments on here. I have NEVER met a man so full of his own self importance and, as again proven this weekend, he takes literally every opportunity to highlight his own self perceived successes.

    Any man who introduces himself as "Big Sam" tells you everything you need to know about them....

  • Comment number 32.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 33.

    He is proud of his appliance of the game's scientific side and attention to fine detail, announcing he had given his players two days off this week as he was worried about the effects of mental fatigue caused by extended car journeys to Blackburn's training ground in adverse weather.


    Ummmm....well, on Friday afternoon my boss told us to clear off half an hour earlier, because we'd struggled in against the snow all week and worked hard.

    Very nice of her, but hardly the scientific genius of a visionary, is it? Just common sense. If this is the best you can come up with to credit Allardyce, I'm not sure you'll be converting too many to the cause.

  • Comment number 34.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 35.

    After a summer where the technical and tactical deficiencies of the British game were ruthlessly and cruelly exposed to the world, it's highly amusing to see a man so ingrained in the "bad" aspects of football in this country lauded.

    Allardyce and his style (aped by thousands of useless coaches up and down the country) are the shining example of why British teams and players are decades behind their continental counterparts. Sure, he's good at getting enough results out of other lower Prem teams, but the idea that he's somehow underrated, or even worse is supposed to be considered amongst the games best managers, is utterly laughable.

  • Comment number 36.

    Allardyce could not manage a quite child. People might think more of him if he perhaps used his brain cell before engaging mouth.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have no problems with the approach that big Sam uses. He is the poor man's Mourinho, literally. Jose Mourinho has shown the world that ugly destructive football can bring you praise, and big Sam deserves some of the praise. I'd love to se him manage Madrid some day. Real Madrid playing like Blackburn. Priceless..

  • Comment number 38.

    Ameobi's Zep - best comment of the whole blog!

    Every counter argument that Sam's supporters use has been shown to be flawed this year: low budget equates to poor football (Blackpool?) a certain type of squad play a certain type of football (Bolton).

    As someone else has pointed out and EVERYONE seems to forget, the season Sam was in charge we weren't relegated, Keegan kept us up and has us genuinely looking good!

    The differences between Hughton and Sam are numerous but the main 2 are, regarding tactics: Hughton's side turn on the style when it's appropriate (we were top scorers last season) but dig into the trenches when need be, when there's no direct pass on, we play keep ball, when Allardyce's Newcastle side had the ball we played it over the top ('into space') regardless. He seemed to have no plan B, a perfect example being the debacles against Derby!

    Hughton's humility is what has truly won the hearts of our supporters; name another manager who has to put up with as much slander from the press. Just this week there were false accusations that his players were picking his team (undermining his authority) - Hughton's response: deny it, keep his head down and get on with it. When we play well, Hughton passes on the praise. When we play badly Hughton takes the blame.

    I will always despise Sam Allardyce - for his time at Newcastle, for his arrogance and for his attitude and if he ever became manager of England, it'd be the death of our national team!

  • Comment number 39.

    Matt 76 is spot on, I pi**ed myself when I read that. No.5, 16 and 35 I wholeheartedly agree. This is a really poor article Phil, you've vaguely outlined an ongoing debate that has no real solution, and concluded with the wrong decision.

    I am another purist; simply because the football that Arsenal, Barcelona, Man U play is the reason why you fall in love with the game as a child, the reason the sport is such a world-wide phenomenon. MOTD is excellant for the first hour or so every week, and then the last half hour is usually made up of mediocre nonsense featuring the likes of Stoke or Blackburn, with about ten fans in the stadium and a succession own goals, taps in and red cards.

    I realize how this sound so I will credit the likes of Chelsea and Everton who win the right to play their football through tough but fair tackling. Didier Drogba and Michael Essien are two players renowned for their physical approach to the game, but its the fact that their level of skill and technique matchs their strength that they are some of the most valuable players in the world. Far too many of the players Big Sam buys are technically dire, but are more suited to clumsily crunching tackles on the more nimble and gifted players of the Prem.

    Lastly the final nail in coffin, Big Sam has ensured that one of the most despicable men in football has remained in the premiership and on our screens for the past 6-7 years - EL HADJI DIOUF please go away!

  • Comment number 40.


  • Comment number 41.

    Despite "Big Sam's" doubters, he's still up there as one of the best current English Managers, regardless of his style of play. Mr. Capello could actually learn something from Sam, maybe even how to get over-paid, lazy, egotistical players together as a TEAM . . .

    Big Sam may not employ the most attractive football going, but he gets the results, and in football, that's all that counts . . . !

    ps. He couldn't be any worse than Paul "The Boy in a Man's job" Ince . . . Laughing stock of the East End of Glasgow, forever!

  • Comment number 42.

    Big Sam is never going to manage a team who you'd expect to win the premiership. His style would not be accepted at the top clubs. Long balls, don't try to win in case you lose. None of the top clubs could ever accept that but that is the only way he knows how to play. For all his years in the top flight how many trophies has he won? How many finals have his teams appeared in? Not enough if you want to manage a Man Utd, Barcelona or Inter. A solid guy if you need to avoid relegation but not if you expect to win titles.

  • Comment number 43.

    The following English mangers are better than Ian Holloway, Mark Hughes, Roy Hodgeson, Martin O'Neil, Harry Redknapp, Steve Bruce, Should I keep going? The FA are pretty stupid so its a possibility, but there would be few men who are booed out of Wembley quicker. The reality is that he is preventing young EXCITING English managers coming through.

  • Comment number 44.

    The reality is, the only thing that matters is what Blackburn Rovers fans think of him and i can assure you that he knows that. He has tricked you all into his little 'seige mentality' game and you have all fallen for it.

    Another nothing blog it must be said

  • Comment number 45.

    He is a legend, but not in the style of play I will ever like xDD

    Sadly, the media/press whatever are good at what they do in keeping the boring-but-effective image of him everyone knows. In this case though they're right, but I not mind variety in any league. There will always be the odd bore-but-good team/manager, it's just their style and how they make their trade.

    They're not exactly in the CL places yet, that's where they'll never touch the flair teams like Tottenham, Arsenal etc.

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm sure Mark Hughes and MON will be delighted to be described as English managers.

  • Comment number 47.

    Apart from the Megson/McLeish typo, great post from expuddle.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    @43 - Martin O'Neil is Irish

  • Comment number 50.

    1967 - The Year Gods Were Born - Paradise Is East wrote:
    Despite "Big Sam's" doubters, he's still up there as one of the best current English Managers


    Even if we assume that's true it doesn't mean he's actually any good. Personally I see that comment as a sad reflection on the quality of English managers.

  • Comment number 51.

    First off as a Spurs fan it's nice to see a blog that's not sensationalist or top-four based for a change, Mr McNulty I commend you, although there are a couple of bits I must disagree with.

    'for the derision Allardyce attracts in some quarters, it is unlikely they would have ended up in the Championship under his stewardship'

    Sorry phil, but Newcastle that season were a sinking ship that even Noah would struggle to save from drowning, and nothing to do with the management team or the players- think about how you go to work every day with a relative state of stability, and compare that to what the Newcastle staff were put through thanks to Ashley, Wise et al...

    I've got to agree with poster *7, spot on mate on two counts, the first is that MON talks utter nonsense almost on a par with David Pleat and Graham Taylor, should you ever be unfortunate enough to listen to them commentate. More tripe than a bumper tin of Winalot (which he won't)

    Secondly that big Sam employs a style similar to a majority of clubs in England and THAT is why we'll never win anything on a global or European stage. From the bottom up, under-6s onwards, the same style is what English coaches like, what they know and what they expect will be successful. Wrong. Did anyone see Barcelona destroy Real in the week? Couldn't possibly remember a better performance in all my 26 years, even Bulgaria who got close in 1994 when they beat the Germans. Passing, skill, movement and only the occasional pass that travelled more than 15 yards. Beautiful. Which you'll never get from a Sam or MON team.

    Before this season I'd have said the same of Bolton, ex-long ball merchants, lump it and jump it style, but Owen Coyle has got them playing some great stuff and the two goals that made the MOTD shortlist were pure class, but now I don't want them to go down anymore. I'd like West Ham to give in and sell us Scotty Parker, and for them to go down ;)

  • Comment number 52.

    Can I suggest it's not all Sam's fault.

    Agreed his own words and seemingly arrogant stanch don't help how well he's perceived in the media. And he may bemoan this perception; yet Jose is more arrogant and yet adored, so Sam must be missing something, a fact he's surely aware of by now.

    Regarding style of football, it takes an exceptional coach with exceptional players to play the football we love to see.

    Ajax and the total football era.

    Brazil of the 70s and 80s.

    AC Milan in the Van Basten and Kaka eras.

    Barcelona last week.

    The best of Arsenal under Wenger.

    Over 40 years - if this is all we can come up with, it's a pretty poor return, and suggests an alternative easier approach.

    Sadly, in the game itself, it's always easier to destroy than create.
    As other's have said, Jose's teams aren't exactly easy on the eye - just very effective.

    And how many titles have ManU won by winning ugly games?

    Sam was a journeyman pro, who's become a journeyman manager.
    He plays to his strengths.

    It's not his fault he incapable of any alternative - few are!

  • Comment number 53.

    Phil - If he was manager of Everton you would understand.

    I still have a sore neck from the few months he was manager of Newcastle. He does get some decent results and you're not going to get relegated with him in charge, but the style of football is painful to watch. If your club has any ambition then he is not the man. All this talk about Real and Inter makes me laugh. When he was here he had plenty of money to spend and brought in overpaid rubbish like Viduka, Geremi, Alan Smith, Rozehnal, Cacapa etc. That was his chance and a big(ish) club with ambition and money and he BLEW IT. It is all well and good saying "he didn't get enough time" or "the fans forced him out" but one way to judge him is by the players he left us with, they're all doing really well for themselves now aren't they?!

  • Comment number 54.

    Poor 'Big Sam' - a legend in his own mind. Nobody else's. I thought some of the X Factor contestants were delusional - Sam is up there with them.

  • Comment number 55.


    Spot on. Also Mark Hughes is Welsh!

  • Comment number 56.

    52. At 10:59am on 05 Dec 2010, Golfingav wrote:
    Can I suggest it's not all Sam's fault.

    Agreed his own words and seemingly arrogant stanch don't help how well he's perceived in the media. And he may bemoan this perception; yet Jose is more arrogant and yet adored, so Sam must be missing something, a fact he's surely aware of by now.


    Jose M can afford to be arrogant, he's a very, very successful manager with a lot of charisma. Comparing him to 'Big Sam' is like comparing an Austin Metro to a Ferrari. They both get you from A to B but one does it with more style and class :)

  • Comment number 57.

    To quote the Beatles - I am the Walrus boom boom ka choo

  • Comment number 58.

    Speaking as a Newcastle fan who knows whether he would have took us down or not and he can complain he wasn,t given enough time but as a manager of any premier league club these days you have to hit the ground running. However having watched the majority of the games while he was in charge I was pleased to see him go!
    Memories of Wigan away at Boxing day and one of the worst performances of a Newcastle team in the Premier league. He is an effective manager at a certain level but I think deep down he knows his limits.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think this blog is written under a false assumption - that Allardyce is underrated.

    There is something to be said about getting the most out of mediocre players, which Allardyce undoubtedly does. Everyone knows that Allardyce is capable of doing that - it's said almost every week.

    Again, we all know that he is very forward-thinking off the pitch, meticulous in preparation and the development of his players. He gets credit for this when the results are good.

    But on the pitch, where it really matters, his tactics are regressive and cynical. It works for Blackburn because they have limited ambition. A top-half finish playing hard football is good enough for their fans because their resources suggest that they should be relegation candidates. It doesn't take a genius to work out that Blackburn's best hope of grinding out results is to tackle hard, exploit refereeing blind spots and pump the ball into the box at every opportunity.

    For me, it seems in football an easier job for an average manager to achieve moderate success at a middling club than it is for a top manager to deliver trophies at a top club.

  • Comment number 60.

    BTW, Gamst Pedersen is a rovers legend - top player, sweet left foot.
    Anyway,at times rovers do play football that is pleasing on the eye- but they utilise set-pieces really well, thanks to Pedersen - the norwegian dead ball specialist !

  • Comment number 61.

    Danny Murphy was spot on in his assessment of this oaf, I can't think of a worse manager. His tactics are criminal to say the least. And his public courtship of Ferguson is embarrassing that his team's recent 'mauling' at the hands of an out of form utd becomes very questionable. Esp when utd go on to lose 4 nil to a struggling team a few days later.

    Here is one man doing more damage to football single handedly than imaginable. Bolton are not recognizable from the side he managed a few yrs back, and the majority of the players are still the same. To me he is dishonesty, tries to stoke controversy unnecessarily, and there is nothing worth praising in such a character. To those praising him for knowing how to avoid defeat, that's easy; get any 10 men and ask them get behind the ball and chop down anyone trying to go past . I personally can't wait to see the back of this idiot.

  • Comment number 62.

    56: "Jose M can afford to be arrogant, he's a very, very successful manager with a lot of charisma. Comparing him to 'Big Sam' is like comparing an Austin Metro to a Ferrari. They both get you from A to B but one does it with more style and class :)"


    I think your comparison is spot in - in terms of charisma.
    However, my post was discussing the type of football we like to see.

    Porto won the Champions League.
    Did you actually watch them play?
    A cynical, regressive and negative team.
    In fact they are the complete and ultimate blueprint for what Allardyce could do at Blackburn.

    Ever watch Chelsea play under Jose M?
    The ultimate in organised, ruthless boredom using quality players.
    A blended team - no. The blueprint for Man City or anyone else with money to burn.

    The day Jose M tries to get his team playing the football we like to watch is the day his team lose 5-0 to someone who can actually do it!

    No, I'm afraid the only differences between Sam and Jose, apart from the car they drive, are:

    1) the available budget.
    2) JM's a good looking guy.
    3) JM loves his players, and his players love him for it.

    Their tactics and love of themselves are the common aspects I was referring to - and in that sense, both drive a Ford Mondeo.

  • Comment number 63.

    Thanks for an interesting article Phil, appreciated.
    Big Sam is grossly underestimated, he is a down to earth guy and he tells it like it is, and, like any other human beings, makes mistakes, the difference with Sam, is that he will accept responsibility.
    If you speak to accredited managers and coaches you'll find that Sam is respected, eager to learn, and always on the leading edge of managing & coaching and looks at the whole piece.
    He also encourages our youth and has a great eye for the unpolished diamond (Jones, Olsson, N Zonzi etc.)
    Rovers punch above their weight, they have to, we get unfair press on our style, because most people of the detractors are lazy, biased and/or jealous, but we don't care, and one of the oldest and proven management tricks in the book in the book is to build a culture of them against us.
    We play some good stuff, and we have some quality players, but we don't have the depth that some of the bigger clubs have, so, when we have to, we'll battle, but that, like most real supporters, is what we pay for and expect to see, we NEED 100% from everyone, as we simply cannot afford the kind of money being splashed around by some of the clubs trying to keep hold of the coat tails of the so called top 4.
    Some of the flawed and quite frankly laughable comments on here, deserve a response, so, Newcastle fans, your chairman brought Allerdyce in, and if you REALLY believe that you would have gone down if you hadn't forced him out, you are simply ON YOUR OWN, Sam's FACT's speak for themselves.
    Yes, sometimes I get frustrated with our style of play, he clearly plays the percentages, however, 99% of the times he is right and I am wrong about such matters, and it works, and we stay in the Premiership, there are many, many clubs that would swap with us. So, credit where it is due. Thankyou Sam for keeping us up, thanks for the 10th last year and keep up the good work. For the others that disagree, try and have an open mind on the matter, if not, please continue from your Sky season ticket, which the majority of you are clearly are! Lastly, support your HOME town club. It's better that way :-)

  • Comment number 64.

    In response to Comment 7 I would have to disagree about Martin O'Neil who you say is not a good manager, If you look at his record especially at Leicester & Celtic I don't think the stats will back up your view at all, And look at Villa's position now, suddenly they are right near the drop zone under Houlier, Martin O'Neil took Villa from nowhere under David O'Leary into the top six and nearly got into the Champs league, OK so he had money to spend but he didn't spend Chelsea & Man City money, he may not be up there with Mouinho/Fergusson/Wenger etc but he is a good manager, it seems you just don't like him so he's not a good manager.

  • Comment number 65.

    Wasn't there a survey recently which showed that Sam has won more points per pound spent than any other manager in the league over the years ?

    Certainly Blackburn have spent less than anyone else in the division on transfer fees and less than some in the division below.

    For Blackburn to regularly finish in the top half is truly remarkable, and Sam deserves a lot of credit for that, as did Mark Hughes.

  • Comment number 66.

    The first problem with Sam Allardyce is he's got provincial written all over him.

    When you make a name by firstly playing for and then managing mostly lowly northern clubs like Blackburn and Bolton you are nearly signing your own death warrant as to the glory teams like the top London ones - Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham - and Man United and Liverpool.

    The only way out of such a trap is to succeed with a not big name club like Alex Ferguson did with Aberdeen, or Brian Clough did with Derby and Notts Forrest, or Sven Goran Eriksson did with Swedish club IFK Gothenburg, winning the EUFA Cup in 1982.

    The fact is Sam has never won anything major, the closest being a League Cup runner up spot, which is hardly going to get him a job managing big European clubs like Real Madrid or Milan, or domestic traditional top 6 clubs like Chelsea and Man U.

    So sadly Sam can claim whatever he likes about "what if" he was manager of these clubs, without ever being able to prove his claim, because he's not likely to be given any of those jobs, unless one of those teams starts to struggle, which may not be a desirable time to take over in any case.

    The other sad thing about Sam is his age, now 56. Sven was only 34 when he won the EUFA Cup with Gothenburg, Sir Alex was around 41 when he won it with Aberdeen, Brian Clough 37 when he first won the 1st Division (then Premier League equivalent) with Derby, and by 45 had won 2 consecutive European Cups (now Champions Leagues) with Notts Forest.

    So it's actually quite sad really that Sam, a likable guy in my view, is somewhat whinging now that he is nearing retirement, but never really made the big time, though I'm sure he doesn't have the pension worries that a lot of the ordinary non-celebrity people in the UK now do.

    The fact is, that not every team can be winners, and a lot of success in life is about being in the right place at the right time.

    I think the advice he needs to hear is to stop whinging, because people who whinge like he's doing, mark themselves out as envious losers, also-rans and runners up.

    But as to arrogance, I don't think he's remotely in the class of many other top managers, for example, Manchester City's Roberto Mancini, who yesterday criticized his players (quite rightly for a change) for being too greedy and squandering chances, but also said unbelievably that had he been playing yesterday himself he "would have scored 2 or 3 goals" !!!

    I don't think that it's too hard to find similar very arrogant statements from most top managers nowadays, though I think Mancini takes the biscuit, but whilst it's not a pretty site to see a reasonably competent manager like Sam whinging about what might have been, he's never going to be top of the Premier League in the boasting stakes.

    As I said, I'd suggest he stops whinging and he might find some better fortune comes his way - e.g. a job at a bigger club like Liverpool or Everton might come his way before he's through.

    Premier League football being as it is however, I think a lot of managers like Sam should feel grateful that they get to manage any non-relegation zone Premier League club, because just look at poor Sven, who has won cases full of trophies, including European ones, now being forced to manage a struggling Championship side, after even being our 2nd most successful England manager since Alf Ramsey's World Cup winning team of 1966.

    But do we ever hear Sven whinging? No. He always gets on with the job, makes the best of what he is given, whether it's England, Northampton, Man City, Mexico, Leicester or wherever, whether he wins or not, he always gives it his best shot, and takes the most positive view of the situation, a lesson that it appears Sam Allardyce has still got to learn.

  • Comment number 67.

    MON is a the same as big sam

    the media love MON and somehow forget to mention his football is just as boring to watch if not more so (trust me i have suffered enough of it)

    one thing for allardyce overall he certainly buys well in the transfer market mainly at a very low price.

  • Comment number 68.

    If I was invited to Buck Palace for a cup of tea Sam would NOT be the man that I would get to arrange the seating.
    If I was ordered to go to Auswitz Sam would be the man that I would get to arrange my trip home!

  • Comment number 69.

    Only Sam Allardyce would believe he doesn't get the credit he deserves. Most football fans have him absolutely spot on - respect for the results he achieves with limited resources, little respect for the methods his teams employ to achieve those results. The man is capable enough, but nowhere near as good as he thinks he is.

  • Comment number 70.

    There are a lot of myths floating around about Allardyce and his results. I think the more eloquent Geordies got it right when they said that he didn't hit the ground running - and then that lead to pressure. I don't think they would have been relegated but I appreciate he didn't look like the delivered straight away. But I don't think thats necessarily his way. He builds effective teams over a longer time whereby the team knows what its supposed to do. The football isn't the prettiest but I refute the 'boring' tag. His later Bolton teams took the defensive strength and added guile with players such as Okocha, Gianokopoulos, Hierro etc and I look forward to seeing this at Ewood with hopefully the investment that Venky's will offer - albeit I hardly think this will be substantial.

    Here are some more 'myths'

    - Allardyce doesn't bring young players through - then why do we have the most exciting crop of youngsters coming through that I can remember (P Jones, N'zonzi, Linganzi, Hanley, Hoillet etc)
    - Allardyce would be rubbish for England - really? When I watched England in the summer, the biggest failure was the inability to play as a team. We ended up playing the same style that we deride Allardyce for and pay Capello £x million for - well at least Allardyce would have them better drilled.
    - Allardyce's Rovers are a dirty team - fair play league doesn't really lie and how many player injuries have been caused.

    He is doing a fine job for us and whilst I appreciate what DiMatteo, Coyle (will they play the same standard once they have to balance the debt?) and Holloway are doing, what about Martinez, Mowbray etc - who all 'play in the right way'

    I am looking forward to time under Sam, in this over-invested crazy Premier League we inhabit.

    The Kiwi that wrote above btw - Nelsen is more than a journeyman although he certainly pulls his weight - what a fantastic profile and inspirational figure. Congrats to you guys at doing so well and love the way he is proud to represent his country.

  • Comment number 71.

    MON wasn't very different. He was vey successful employing a throwback, counter attacking winger reliant style of play. That style of play was never going to get him one of the bigger clubs. Thats why i cringed at the thought of MON at arsenal, and I doubt he'd ever get a chance at Manchester UTD either.

    Thats why when a brit like Coyle gets his teams playing like they do they get plaudits.

    Football isn't only just about results, its about inspiration, awe and wonder. Allerdyce does not care about that and never will, he should be happy then that he had a successful career and leave it at that.

    Just dont mention madrid or inter again.

  • Comment number 72.

    a blog that really doesn't say a lot

    you gloss over newcastle somewhat:

    "For a manager who is unlikely to ever take charge of one of the elite Premier League clubs, Allardyce cuts an oddly divisive figure in the court of public opinion."

    well newcastle are and were in some sense of the word elite at the time and he performed poorly - he's great at taking clubs with low expectations and fan bases and getting the absolute best out of players with minimal talents and playing like a team and getting the best uses of players/tactics within the team. to get the lower clubs to compete is what he's absolutely great at - it's why blackburn and stoke are mid-table and west ham are at the bottom.

    but, like at newcastle, his talents have their limitations, and with a plethora at talent at his disposal he wasn't sure how to unleash it most effectively, and settled back into old ways when a more expansive game was demanded of him.

    not to cricitise too harshly, like i said he is brilliant at what he does and his stewardship, tactical know-how and getting players in positions and playing well as a team has made blackburn extremely difficult to beat. but i don't see him ever being promoted far beyond that level

  • Comment number 73.

    65. At 12:16pm on 05 Dec 2010, John Clifton wrote:
    Wasn't there a survey recently which showed that Sam has won more points per pound spent than any other manager in the league over the years ?


    Where was such a survey conducted? Am sure if ever there was such a thing only Allardyce himself would have conducted it.

    Allardyce doesn't want his teams to play football, period. How anyone can see positives out of that is beyond me. Granted other teams play the odd defensive game or two per season, but that's only due to the quality of opposition in front of them. You wouldn't exactly expect all teams that turn up at places such as OT to be always on the offensive. Now allardyce will play the long ball against anyone and everyone, home or away. How more negative can one get?

  • Comment number 74.

    It's quite easy to see why this fat dumb buffoon divides opinion-he produces the very worst football to watch imaginable and with a simplicity that make Pulis's tactical mind almost Einsteinian.He is killing the very beauty of a game that we love.There is no more appalling characteristic than arrogance without talent and Alladyce exudes this in spades.How he is still employed at this level when he continues to employ hoofing and thuggery as his default setting beggars belief and football would be markedly better with him exiled from it forever.

  • Comment number 75.

    4. At 11:17pm on 04 Dec 2010, homanahomana wrote:

    If Allardyce was not from the British Isles, he would get so much more ridicule from your media.
    Hear hear! I couldn't believe how his & Ferguson's mud-slinging at Benitez was virtually ignored by the British media. If it had been the other way round the offender would have been deported!

    #6: Agree. Allardyce thinks he's the man to take over from Ferguson when the time comes, & that by slinking up to him he's going to make it possible, but he's just another average manager, so it ain't gonna happen. All that cooing of Fergie is frankly embarrassing.
    I'm surprised he hasn't yet got his own weekly comic strip!

  • Comment number 76.

    I think most people are missing the point. As a Blackburn fan I'm not going to pretend that I love watching Blackburn play every week. However the insinuation that we are purely a dirty, long ball team is inaccurate. Against Chelsea we should have won by playing good attacking football. I can't even remember the last time I saw a bad tackle from a Blackburn player to be honest.

    To say the team is full of big physical players with no technique is also not right. I would hardly label David Dunn, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Brett Emeton and Kalinic as this type of player. In fact other than our centre backs, Jason Roberts is the only target man in our team.

    The reason nobody likes Sam Allardyce is because he isn't really a likeable character and is seen as playing long ball football. I would rather Blackburn were playing the kind of football we played under Souness and Hughes but that brings it's own issues. The players and managers that succeed playing that way soon leave for bigger teams. People citing Ian Holloway as an example of what can be achieved with a low budget are speaking far too early. Look at Hull, Burnley (and to a lesser extent West Brom) as examples of teams that have gone down in recent seasons playing nice football. It won't be a big problem if Blackpool go down as most people expected them to and they are not an established Premiership club. If Blackburn went down (with a wages to turnover ratio of 80%) it would be disastrous and we would go the way of Southampton and Charlton. So would I rather play nice football and go down or a more pragmatic style and stay up? Definitely the latter. With a bit of money I believe that Sam would add a bit more style to our substance (a bit like Moyes at Everton). Allardyce is a perfect fit for us at the moment but I wouldn't want my team to play like this forever. Allardyce will never manage an elite club but neither will any other British manager. This is endemic of the win at all costs nature of the Premier League, only managers with proven records of success will get the top jobs. Fact is, as a mid table team manager his record is not any worse than Moyes, O'Neill, Hodgson, Coyle etc who all get more plaudits than him. I think that's what he feels hard done by and he has a point.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think Sam Allardyce and Englands world cup bid have a lot in common. They both think they are gods gift and better than they really are. Allardyce might well be better suited to Real than Blackburn and that is his weakness. He has one way of doing things. He doesn't adapt. I think Blackburn will finish around 8th or 9th why not? But Big Sam has had years in the premier league and won nothing. Blackburn remember won this league, they actually have more real history in the league than teams like Liverpool, from that point of view, so that paranoia small club rubbish is a waste of time. It's not nice to listen to him, and to be honest, if he was french or Dutch...( which he just couldn't be) I think he would have gone the way of Christian Gross or Martin Jol...

  • Comment number 78.


    'Complaining about his style of football is such a pathetic thing to do in a comment, you dont get paid to write about what you think, because your oppinion isnt valid, i for one appriciate how much of a quality manager he is on the pitch'

    You realise youve told someone that they shouldnt say what they think on the comment board, which is surely what these are for. Then, you give youre own comment.

    Know the word Hypocrite?

  • Comment number 79.

    "so that paranoia small club rubbish"

    You know what we had to operate on a budget right? A real budget which meant that we have to target a league position to operate sensnsibly. The money that had to be paid to sack Ince (who played lovely passing, LOSING football btw) meant we had to sell our best striker to pay for the privilege and were unable to reinvest in the squad. Yes its mostly the same team that Hughes left - minus the following players - Friedel, Tugay, Santa Cruz, Bentley, Warnock, McCarthy (the good version!!). All big players for us and not really replaced (apart from Friedel).

  • Comment number 80.

    @everyone who pointed out the mistake in my post: yes i did mean mcleish not megson, that's what you get for posting at 2 in the morning but unfortunately you can't edit your posts. I did manage to coax some bullet points out of it though!

  • Comment number 81.

    Check the record books & stats.....

    at Newcastle we won only 1 of his last 13 games, against the weaker teams, including Derby's only win of the season and a last minute equaliser against them at home. Keegan's first 5 of 6 games were Arsenal twice, Man Utd twice and Liverpool. If only he had been retained for these games then the myth of BSA would have been truly shattered.

    His excuses were/are wretched. Chances missed we simply did not have. Decisions on incidents that really clutched at straws. He really invented stuff up in post-match interviews.

    Yes, he would have taken us down that season. There is not a geordie I know who disagrees. Personally, I think we have to go back to the management of Richard Dinnis in the second division late 70's to see football as bad.

    The season we did go down was another story altogether....

  • Comment number 82.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 83.

    "@#70.... those young players were in place when he joined Rovers & to some extent he can't not play them. He cannot spot a player like Holloway has for peanuts. At Bolton he was there a long time, he left no young players. Just a huge wage bill. "

    Sure Papa Shango, sure. So he didn't sign our player of the season last year (N'Zonzi), a young french midfielder...for a small amount of money. All luck, I'd imagine. Kalinic, Linganzi, N'zonzi, Goulon - these are all his and yes, some of the kids were there already like Hoillet and Jones - he is the one that has given them the chance.

    Don't let your bitterness get in the way of posting rubbish though.

  • Comment number 84.

    "The most important thing is winning and entertaining" - Big Sam



    As if it wasn't hilarious enough telling us he should be at Real Madrid, Sam's now telling us his sides entertain!

    Can just imagine him at the Bernabeu.

    "Tactics? Joost pot tha bloodeh hoof on it lad! Pot ya bloodeh lehces thru it! Or ah'll put ma fot so fahr oop yar ahehhhhrse ye'll be sneezin leatha for a moonth!"

  • Comment number 85.

    Allardyces record sums it all up. Mid-low table average boring manager.

  • Comment number 86.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 87.

    Not a fan of Sam at all, his football is horrendous, his constant cosying up to Fergie is sickening and his recent comments about being more suited to Real or Barca-just laughable

    Having said that, he is a very good manager. No-one can deny the job he did at Bolton, he took them from the Championship to the brink of the Champions League on a miniscule budget. For my money if he had stuck with Bolton I think he would have got them there

    Bombed at Newcastle-that job's a poisoned chalice if ever there was, ask yourself, why did Redknapp not want the job?

    He's doing a fine job with Rovers, and if they stick with him the only way is up

    If we are to appoint an English manager I think sam would be a good choice. Football style is poor but then Capello's style is hardly scintillating

    His teams know how to get stuck in and he wouldn't be so afraid to pick players from the lesser teams as Fabio is

    We'd have to give him time though, as Newcastle proved you can't expect his team to be playing like world beatres after 8 months

  • Comment number 88.

    @86 blackburn haven't had money to buy players for years so they've had to compete with other clubs for free transfers, so there are less players blackburn can sign and other clubs can offer those free transfers higher wages because they offset the higher wages by the lack of transfer fee. so it's not like Sam has had the pick of the bunch, he's had to make do with a handful of available players at any one transfer window. if he had unlimited funds he'd be bringing in flair players and what have you, hence his comment about being able to do a good job at real madrid.

  • Comment number 89.

    Thanks for all the posts everyone. I think they have proved my point that Alllardyce is a divisive figure. Interesting to see the comparisons with Martin O'Neill.

    I am not attempting to paint myself as the chairman of the Allardyce fan club, far from it, but Newcastle apart he has shown an ability to manage his resources and get the best out of his players.

    I was at a game at Blackburn last season and it was clear many fans were not sold on him, but his results - especially at home - have won people over. As I mentioned, though, it was interesting to hear some home fans jeering when Blackburn kept possession late on yesterday.

    He failed at Newcastle, but the club was taken over shortly after he arrived and I do believe that proved to be a hasty decision.

    Blackburn fans - are you happy with Allardyce? And could he flourish at a bigger club in the right circumstances or would public perception count against him?

    Obviously some of you think Allardyce has quite an ego - and he does sign off his programme notes "Big Sam" - but he has done an excellent job at Ewood Park, whether you agree with his methods or not.

  • Comment number 90.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 91.

    @90. Blackpool haven't proved anything. You can win games playing nice attractive football but let's see where Blackburn and Blackpool are at the end of next season. Not a problem for Holloway as he'll have done enough to get himself a better job. Not a massive problem for Blackpool as when (not if) they eventually get relegated they'll be a stronger team as they haven't overspent. I've got nothing against Blackpool as they pipped my local team (Swansea) to the playoffs and I was especially pleased they went up in place of Cardiff! Essentially Blackpool are this season's Burnley and will go exactly the same way, mark my words!

  • Comment number 92.

    Not a Blackburn fan Phil, but a further point occurred to me anyway.

    I think when managers make public statements like Sam's "I should be managing Real Madrid, Man U....etc...and I'd win trophies..." that's not necessarily as boastful as it appears but basically may just be an "employment wanted" advert.

    I'm sure a great many things said by players and managers that they know will go public have some kind of other message in them, a hint of dissatisfaction for example at their current role is effectively a job advert, as in the case of Adam Johnson's recent hint that he would consider moving on, if he continued to be benched at Man City (as he is still being, despite scoring an absolutely brilliant individual goal last week in the Europa League).

    Because otherwise how do you put the word around when you want to move on as a top flight football manager? Phone up all the chairman and chief executives in Europe?

    Likewise when Allardyce signs himself off "Big Sam" as you pointed out, he was as far as I know given that name by the media, so I think maybe there's some irony or tongue in cheek aspect in that, that maybe some are missing.

    Malcolm Allison was also known as Big Mal at Man City, so I don't think you can credit Allardyce with a big ego just on account of that.

    But sometimes it's just gratuitous boasting of course, as in the case of Roberto Mancini at Man City.

    In Sam's case, despite what appears to me a big hint to club owners and chief executives and directors everywhere, that he wants a bigger job, I don't think his ego is detracting significantly from his commitment to his club.

    And I mean, after all, just look at one of Europe's most very successful managers, Jose Mourinho, who labelled himself "the special one."

    Then there's Brian Clough, possibly the most arrogant manager of all time, and one of the most successful too.

    So I think the point is, that arrogance in managers is only a problem if it is not underpinned by major success, which sadly is the main problem in Sam Allardyce's case, or when it's at the expense of making decisions in the best interest of the club as I think is happening in Roberto Mancini's case.

    That is the distinction that needs to be drawn when managers boast - is this man just out for his own glory, or is he acting in the best interests of his club?

    Despite the big hint he'd like a bigger club, it appears to me that Sam does give his all to every club he's at, and as most people know, he's also had heart trouble, which if anything is probably a symptom that he is over-committed to the job.

    I'm not his doctor either, but personally, I'd advise him early retirement, rather than going to a bigger club.

    A good number of managers and ex-players have died at games, due to the excitement/strain I'd guess, such as Jock Stein, former manager of Celtic and Scotland, and so when Bill Shankly said "football's not a matter of life and death, it's more important than that", if I was Sam Allardyce I'd question if Bill Shankly was really giving out good advice.

  • Comment number 93.

    As a rovers fan I am often frustrated with our style of football. It is often not easy on the eye. However staying in the premier league is the most important thing and Sam will keep us in this division.

    To the people who dont like Sam, I would ask all of them if they could do a better job. If they could they would of course be managing a pl club. It is often easy to attack public figures, with the 'I could do a better job' argument. Sorry but if you could, you would not be sat reading this. I say let him get on with it.

    We are never going to be able to play football like Man U, Arsenal or Spurs - we quite simply do not have the players nor the money. To compete you have to play to your own strengths which is exactly what we are doing. Lets not forget that football is a business and therefore he is doing a successful job by keeping us in this division.

    I agree that blackpool are playing attractive footie, which is really good to see from a smaller club. However they are quickly being found out (very similar to Hull City if we remember). It is only a matter of time. If you have a team of inferior players and try to play the bigger teams at their own game you will eventually lose out.

    Lets also not forgot that rovers did indeed win at Blackpool - and Newcastle for that matter. Both Hughton's and Holloway's 'stylish' football didnt earn them much on those occassions?!

    So long as we keep grinding out results, I will be happy regardless of the manner of the victory.
    As for flair football, well I will leave that to the big spenders.

  • Comment number 94.

    Because he talks big and delivers nothing.

  • Comment number 95.

    64. At 12:14pm on 05 Dec 2010, vavahume wrote:

    In response to Comment 7 I would have to disagree about Martin O'Neil who you say is not a good manager, If you look at his record especially at Leicester & Celtic I don't think the stats will back up your view at all, And look at Villa's position now, suddenly they are right near the drop zone under Houlier, Martin O'Neil took Villa from nowhere under David O'Leary into the top six and nearly got into the Champs league, OK so he had money to spend but he didn't spend Chelsea & Man City money, he may not be up there with Mouinho/Fergusson/Wenger etc but he is a good manager, it seems you just don't like him so he's not a good manager.

    If you take out his record at Celtic, where even Sam Allardyce would probably win a trophy or two if he was their manager for a while, what has Martin O'Neill actually won - 3 league cups. Hardly the stuff of legend.

  • Comment number 96.

    "@83... He is a dinosaur. NZonzi I'll give you. The other 4 hardly play & the signing of Benjani sums him up! Maybe if he played football more fans would turn up. Your shocking attendances sum up his football."

    Meh - same tired fan's reactions, when shown to be fools, they resort to the 'fans' argument. Do a quarter of Newcastle's population go to games? We didn't fill the stadium when winning the league - shall we start cloning people?

    Mind you, having had a view of your profile, you're a generally bitter one anyhows so really who cares about your negativity.

    Phil - your wider point. I think Sam will always have his detractors amongst the Ewood faithful, even if he takes us to (say) the Waffa Cup or a cup final - would love to get to another one....anyhows. People want to see us playing in the 'right' way and will ignore the difficulties it entails to make that happen. I actually think that, contrary to opinion, Sam will change his approach to include more styles based on the opponents we will face. So whilst I'm happy with him him, he has too much baggage (bolton, hoofball, arrogance, rumoured dealings etc) to be given respect by a group of our supporters.

    As regards 'good' football, the clubs that try to achieve this brand of football invariably do not succeed and the PL is the ultimate example of pragmatism - its value is so much more than in other leagues so of course clubs have to do their utmost to continue to be part of the gravy train. For those who hold Arsenal up as the model of how to play, Wenger (who I [personally dislike but who can argue against his record of achievement) can get his teams to play breathtaking football (as evidenced by some of the play yesterday) but actually I think that offered by SAF's best was more exciting.

  • Comment number 97.

    20 years ago Allardyce would have had far more appreciation for being the exceptional manager he is. In the modern era of armchair gloryhunters of the big 4 though the ability to overachieve with small clubs is dismissed. All that matters is how much fun will Joe Bloggs be having when he's sat in front of his 40" flatscreen TV watching Sky Sports on a weekend. These people aren't football fans, they're football customers, and I'm quite pleased Big Sam winds them up.

  • Comment number 98.

    I am sorry but I feel greater sympathy for the poor souls that have supported Bolton & Newcastle. Now it is Blackburn's turn.
    His critics do not stereotype him or his teams, his lack of footballing ambition does the job well enough.
    If his talent matched his ego he might now be in Italy or Spain with numerous trophies and probably readying himself to lead England to victory in Moscow 2018.
    We, however, would be denied his boorish, gum chewing rhetoric but I for one could live with that!

  • Comment number 99.

    Well, to start, #3 - you're an absolute idiot. That's the typical sort of thing I'd expect from someone who knows very little about football, and continues to watch games through tinted goggles. If you look at games with a more analytical mind, you might end up stearing clear of that uninformed cliché nonsense.

    Right, as a Blackburn fan, I'm not too happy with Allardyce (you can imagine, therefore, what I thought about him when he was at Bolton) being at Ewood. I can't, however, complain about the results he's achieved with very few resources.

    The footballing philosophy he employs is what DOES leave me irked. It's called percentage football for a reason: it only works on a percentage of the occasions. Big Sam's record in the more recent seasons against the bigger clubs has been pretty shoddy (I think Blackburn's win at home to Arsenal was the only positive result against the top 4/5 in the last 2 years - and compared with Sparky's record against the top sides, it looks even more dismal), and it's because, to give yourself a chance against the better teams, you need a bit more in your armoury than set-piece reliance. Allardyce doesn't encourage enough of this in his teams, and hence you get results such as the 7-1 loss at Old Trafford.

    So, sure, I agree he is a capable manager, one who can get a group of players to come together and produce decent results. To put him in charge of Real Madrid or AC Milan and the like? I'm not convinced he'd allow enough creative freedom or positive possession football for a team like that to flourish. Conversely, who knows how well he'd do as England manager...

  • Comment number 100.

    Interesting article Phil, pleased you focused on a club of less popularity and stature by Premier League standards (no disrespect intended Blackburn fans!) Perhaps someone can help me though, im not sure what exactly it is but i just don't like Sam Allardyce. Yes he is a good manager of mid table teams and impressed me when he was one of the first Premiership managers to introduce proper conditioning training to players whilst at Bolton! Is he boring? No not really although does become very tedious in post match interview if things haven't gone his way! Maybe its his style of play? However to be fair to the guy its a results business and i think everyone would rather win ugly than loose beautifully?! I think Wolves for example play more flowing football but look where they are compared to Blackburn. Maybe its the hint of arrogance i feel he carries round with him, the i could manage Inter or Real line didn't sit well with me. Maybe thats the problem mid table mediocrity, he's just abit beige?!


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