By EDIALE KINGSLEY
SAM Allardyce, a man who has proved time and time again he can get players to perform. A man who has built a career on the strength of this priceless talent. The Sam Allardyce CV is littered with examples of him making the best out of a bad situation. That is what he does. He has never spent huge money on transfers and yet he has always, given the chance, taken teams forward.
When Allardyce arrived at the Reebok Stadium in 1999, Bolton Wanderers were in the bottom half of Division One. When he left in 2007, they were an established Premier League team who had played in Europe for the first time in their history.
He then went to Blackburn Rovers after former manager Paul Ince was sacked in 2008.
Rovers were facing the drop having won just three times in their opening 17 games. Big Sam took them on a nine-game unbeaten run to retain their top-flight status.
In 2011 he came to London to manage West Ham. The Hammers had been relegated to the Championship the previous season and Allardyce was charged with taking them back to the top tier of English football. A difficult job in a highly competitive league. It took him nine months.
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Last season Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat resigned after only eight games. Even though the campaign had barely kicked into gear, the Black Cats looked doomed. Relegation beckoned. But then, In October 2015, the board appointed Allardyce. It was at that point you knew, instantly, Sunderland would survive in the Premier League for another year.
It is no coincidence that Allardyce keeps working miracles. It is not luck. This work is the hallmark of a highly skilled, highly motivated expert in man-management. Exactly what England have lacked for the past 20 years..
It is churlish to blame Allardyce for his alleged poor style of football without taking into consideration the circumstances in which that football has been played.
Of course, Allardyce’s career has not been without criticism. His detractors will tell you he plays “prehistoric football” a defensive, long-ball game that is unattractive to the eye. But it’s a fallacy. Yes, his teams are well-drilled, hard to beat. Yes, his teams play organised, aggressive football. But defensive? No. Unattractive? Behave. Do you really expect him to strive for “sexy football” when his team is struggling to survive?
Should Blackburn have been popping the ball around like Barcelona when the team hadn’t won for ten games? Should West Ham have attacked with the verve and power of Bayern Munich at a time when every point gained was a step closer to staying in the Premier League? It is churlish to blame Allardyce for his alleged poor style of football without taking into consideration the circumstances in which that football has been played.
I have no idea what kind of style Real Madrid would play if Allardyce was in charge (imagine that!) but it is naive to think it would be unattractive or defensive. The bottom line is Allardyce creates teams that get results. Result, maybe it’s on that ground that he should have been pardoned.
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