Why The Premier League Is Better Without Allardyce

Posted on January 24, 2011


(Without any word of a lie, half of the Google images for Sam Allardyce have him pulling this exact face)

One good rule for life is that, once you have the people, not to let them go. It’s why managers are so opposed to the Bosman ruling, and why Ian Holloway currently has Charlie Adam in a soundproof box far away from any talk of ‘bigger clubs’. In writing terms, one fool-proof way to divest yourself of your audience is to point them in the direction of a better writer.

To that end, I’d appreciate it if you read as far as the end of this article before you head over to check out Dispatches from a Football Sofa, to which I have become moderately addicted over the last couple of weeks. One thing that Mr Harris likes to go back to is that always spine tingling quote from Danny Blanchflower:

“The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.”

Much like a horoscope, you can always find some context to fit a quote like this into. But everytime I think of this quote, I think of Sam Allardyce.

And then I hate Danny Blanchflower for making me think of Sam Allardyce. Image via Wikimedia Commons

If ever there was a man who knew how to win ugly, it was Big Sam. He has never managed a team to relegation (unless you count his unfinished season as Assistant Manager at WBA in 1991). And has a formidable record for survival with teams that didn’t boast formidable lineups. His style of football is described as ‘direct’ by it’s proponents and ‘boring, awful to watch and generally crap’ by everyone else. To quote Phil McNulty’s predictions for the season back in August, Blackburn were destined to be “Solid, unspectacular – but survivors”.

There was, for me, a confusing amount of dismay when Venky’s took the decision to drop Big Sam. Their statement that they wanted a more ‘beautiful’ style of football from the team was aspirational and, if you look at what Owen Coyle has achieved with Bolton this season, not entirely unreasonable. Why did it get so much scorn? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think there was a degree of elitism in it. There seemed to be a notion that mid table mediocrity was all a club like Blackburn deserves, which is ridiculous.

Aspiration in football is a good thing. If the Blackburn owners want to take a gamble on reaching the big time (as Harry Redknapp has in the last 2 seasons at Tottenham with Daniel Levy’s backing), then good for them. There is more than enough ‘playing for the draw’ in football. A team that wants to take a real crack at the giants is to be commended. And if it doesn’t work, it is their money that is on the line.

Survival should only be a goal if it’s the best you can do. Teams allowing themselves to stagnate in order to safeguard their TV rights is one of the worst traits of the league. Sam Allardyce is a manager who goes out to try not to lose.  And that’s why he shouldn’t be managing a Premier League team.

That said, seriously Blackburn, get rid of El-Hadji Diouf. The worst qualities of Big Sam are like a fart in the wind compared to that prick.

Posted in: Blackburn