Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sam Allardyce (for Bolton Wanderers) vs York City, 26th October 1974

I honestly don't know what disgusts me more about Sam Allardyce's sacking.

-> The fact that Newcastle Utd are 11th in the Premier League with 26 points in 21 games. We're just over halfway through the season. It's not a great start, but it's hardly disastrous.

-> The fact that the owner of the club and the Managing Director have repeatedly said that Allardyce's job was safe and that they were in it for the long term, that they knew it might take some time for their patience to bear some fruit.

-> The fact that Allardyce was only given 8 months in charge before his sacking

-> The fact that the fans (urged on by press and the media) began to chant against their own manager in the very early stages of the season. I'm sure that can only have helped the manager and the team

-> The fact that the club let him give a press conference detailing his plans for the club on the very same day that he was dismissed

-> The fact they let him spend something like £26m during his stay but weren't prepared to wait for that investment to mature. They'd rather start again with another manager with different plans

-> The fact that apparently the club are apparently seriously considering replacing this experienced and (relatively) successful manager with someone who might be a club legend, but who has absolutely no practical management experience and is even crap when talking about the game on Match of the Day

-> The fact that since they sacked Bobby Robson (who had led the club back into the top 4 in the league and whose only crime appeared to be a poor-ish start to the season) in August 2004, the club has gone through another 3 managers (and 2 caretakers) and managed a best league finish of 7th. Last season they finished 13th. The facts tell us that they are a mediocre side at best. How is their current position false, exactly?

-> The fact that, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, the club and their fans seem to think that they have a right to be in the top 4, winning trophies and playing beautiful football.... and they are happy to blame every successive manager who fails to change the deep-rooted malaise at the club the very instant they arrive

-> The fact that a club this unsuccessful seems to place a greater premium on the concept of "good football" than they do on "winning football"

-> 11 managers in 11 years. Says it all. Arsenal have made do with just the one in that period. As have Manchester Utd.

-> etc.

I know that there's a lot of money at stake in the Premier League, but really, is this any way to run a business? Is all of this chopping and changing going to be for Newcastle Utd's long term benefit?

Who are the most consistently successful clubs in the country? Manchester United and Arsenal. Is it purely coincidence, do you think, that they are also the ones with the longest serving managers? Manchester United's loyalty to Alex Ferguson in particular is worth noting: the board's patience with their new manager and his sticky start has been repaid a hundred times. Perhaps those 8 Premier League clubs who have changed their managers should have paid a little more attention to that fact.

Newcastle United appear to be run by a committee of idiots. I thought this would change with the departure of Fat Freddie Shepherd, but apparently not.

Football makes me despair sometimes, it really does.


Mosher said...

Oi! How dare you talk about my team and fellow fans and the board with such... with such... accuracy!

A pox on you, sir!

Believe me, I'm as shocked and disappointed at the board as mush as you appear to be. It stinks, frankly, to tell a man he has your full backing then to pull the rug out from under his feet like that. Sure, the football was crap and we've lost to some bloody awful teams of late but to effectively lie to someone as they've done just isn't right.

I still think that Bobby should never have been given the heave-ho. As you rightly pointed out, he did more for this club than anyone since Keegan and yet he was still treated like crap because - as far as I can figure - the board started to listen to spoilt bastards like Dyer and Bellamy before the man who had been placed in charge of them.

We don't need a fantastic manager. We need a good one who's allowed several years to bed in and form a team he can work with. GAH!

LB said...

Hear hear. You've saved me the time of sitting down and writing the exact same thing.

Nonsense. I hope Sam Allardyce spends the next three months hanging around in Sports Direct stores wearing staff uniform and talking to employees about how shit their benefits, pay and stock are. See how Mike Ashley likes it.

swisslet said...

I genuinely thought, listening to the Managing Director talk on footie focus the other week, that all the talk of Allardyce being on the edge was just being stoked up by the media... that this time the club knew they needed to back their man. Even this morning I thought he had time.

Apparently not.

Idiots. Who lets these people run multi-million pound businesses?

What have they achieved?

Who have they got lined up who is a better long-term bet than Big Sam probably was (and probably will be somewhere else)?

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Where do you reckon they'll end up at the end of the season? About 10th maybe?

Odds on a stupid show-boating signing before the end of the month?


swisslet said...

and why did Shearer not rule himself out publically until after Allardyce had been sacked? If he wasn't interested, why not say so?

Anonymous said...

Even I am a little surprised by this move by Newcastle. Even I will acknowledge that Allardyce over time is a virtual lock to bring a team results. But I really think it came down to beauty for owner Mike Ashley; not just in terms of the style of football on the pitch but the means with which Big Sam was willing to attain results. To that end I think the key factor in Allardyce's dismissal is the sight of Joey Barton in jail. His antics on the pitch are sometimes too much to bear but then to hear about what he's like off the pitch, well...

weenie said...

Big Sam has been treated abysmally. Perhaps he wasn't the right man for the job but he hardly had any time whatsoever to prove himself.

Hopefully, he will put this little unpleasant episode behind him, take over at another club and show them all that they were sadly mistaken.

Paul said...

Fat Sam was appointed by the previous regime. He was not the choice of the current owner, who gave him time to see if their relationship and the product served up by Fat Sam was what the new owner wanted. It wasn't.

We've been playing shit football all season, and lost to some awful teams along the way (Derby have taken 4 points from their games against us for crying out loud). I'd be happy to watch winning football, and had we been winning, Fat Sam would still have a job. The fact is, we weren't winning and we were playing shit football.

He may have spent money on players, but lots of them haven't been very good. Allardyce persisted in playing players out of position and it did us no good at all.

I'm frustrated because I agree he should have had until at least the end of the season, but we weren't playing well and he has to take at least some of the blame for that.

In terms of our recent managerial record, the fact is that we've made a host of bad appointments. You talk about longevity, but if we'd kept Gullitt, Souness or Roeder we'd have been relegated such was the paucity of performance under all three during the later days of their times in charge.

Wenger won the double in his first season in charge at Arsenal, and if Fergie had just taken the Man Utd job I strongly suspect he'd have been sacked long before he managed to turn the club around. If Allardyce had even come close to Wenger's acheivement he'd still be in situ.

The Joey Barton debacle only served to highlight that Allardyce isn't the man-manager he'd like you to believe.

Ben said...

Spot on, Paul. No offence, ST, but it's easy to be critical from the outside when you haven't had to suffer the same old shit game after game. Either way, I've certainly got less sympathy for Allardyce than you and most of the other commenters here.

OK so he should have had till the end of the season, and it was rough in pulling the rug from under him when he'd just given a press conference - but the fact is he just hasn't been good enough.

He hasn't inspired or organised the players; he's had no clue of his best side; he was arrogant enough to think he could be the one to reform Joey Barton and look how that's turned out; when challenged or under pressure he refused to take any responsibility, always blaming others and stubbornly insisting that his way was the right way.

As fans, we don't value 'good football' above 'winning football' - and the fact is that the football we were playing under Allardyce was very rarely either.

No-one's saying we're in a false position - or at least I'm not. We're exactly where we deserve to be, if not a bit high (especially if you take away those late, late wins against Brum and Fulham in December). Neither do I believe we have some divine right to be in the upper echelons of the league - we don't. It's just that a club of our size with our resources and playing staff should be doing much better than it is.

The sacking's been coming for a long time - there was talk back in the summer, before the season even started when he'd only been in the job for two months, that he might be out on his ear, what with the new owner wanting his own man in place. In many ways it's a wonder he lasted this long.

LB said...

Paul/Ben - I take your points but I would say this.

I remember standing in the Stretford End on a wet December day in 1989 with 33,000 others and watching a pitiful United side lose 2-1 to Crystal Palace. We finished 13th that season, five points clear of Sheffield Wednesday who were relegated.

Sure, a cup run that year potentially saved Sir Alex's job, but had the Board not been patient they'd have sacked Ferguson and where on earth would we be now?

The style may not have been there, but if you're going to have chop and change the manager every ten minutes, you'll win nothing.

You also say: "...a club of our size with our resources and playing staff should be doing much better than it is" - is that not the problem Newcastle United are always going to have? A couple of freak seasons under Keegan less than two decades after playing in the third tier and, despite a large stadium and (presumably) some decent financial backing, the fans think they ought to finish ahead of, say, Everton. Or Spurs.

Look at who is above Newcastle in the table. The big four, Villa, Man City, Everton, West Ham, Pompey and Blackburn.

With the exception of Pompey, is that not about right? The other clubs are of a similar size and financial clout to Newcastle and what sees them above Newcastle in the table? A set of decent managers being left to get along with the job.

Any right minded manager would run a mile from the Newcastle job - it's one of the most thankless in the game.

Anonymous said...

the shortlist to take the job is hardly inspiring either..i just hope Ashley/Mort have someone special in mind cos Redknapp, Hughes, Coppell's track-records are no better than Sam's...

swisslet said...

Please God let it be Keegan. I can see the misty eyed Geordie romantics in tears as we speak.... it would be the most entertaining thing to happen to the Premier League since... well, since Kevin Keegan.

Paul / Ben - I obviously defer to your greater knowledge of the club and your sufferance at watching some of the rubbish you've been served this season.... just trying to put up an outsider's perspective on things. I do think the sacking is ridiculous, but part of my despair stems from the way that once the media smells blood, they go in for the kill and won't let it go until the sacking is done. That, coupled with Mort's steadfast backing (in public) of a man he then stabbed in the back, has summed a lot of what's bad in football up for me. And as for Joey Barton, I don't think you can hold Allardyce to blame there. Barton might be an awful human being, but he is also potentially one of the best English midfielders in the league. Big Sam got there first, but you can bet your bottom dollar that others would not have been far behind, and there will be plenty of takers for him should you decide to get rid. That's the way football works, isn't it?

And as for the choices of Roeder, Souness, Gullit and the like. Well, perhaps they would have led you down if they hadn't got the sack. The real question is how the hell they got the job in the first place, isn't it?


Ben said...

LB: We've always looked at Villa, Spurs, Man City and Everton as our main rivals, yes, but we still want to be on top of that pile rather than the bottom.

ST: "part of my despair stems from the way that once the media smells blood, they go in for the kill and won't let it go until the sacking is done" - fair point, it did seem to become inevitable. And yes, Joey Barton's big enough and ugly enough to take responsibility for his own actions. But it was Allardyce who persuaded the board to take a gamble on him, and so he has to take some responsibility too. I honestly can't see there being that many interested parties if (when) we put him up for sale -too much baggage, plus he's been playing shite all season.

Really can't see Keegan coming back!

As for the other managers you named, Gullit was a good appointment at the time (apart from having a beef with Shearer, that is) and it just backfired spectacularly, and Roeder deserved his chance after rescuing us from the mess we were in in 2005-6. The appointment of Souness, by contrast, was a horrible mistake - smacked of desperation on the part of Fat Fred, as numerous other managers turned him down (including Fat Sam, I think). At least we've got rid of that numpty Shepherd.

Paul said...

Whilst I take your point about club size, I'd like to point out that we've never been in the third tier of English football.

If you can't aspire to be better than the teams around you what's the point?

What annoys me most about all this is the fact that a couple of weeks ago, the press merrily report Allardyce in trouble and stir the pot, but are then quick to condemn his sacking, which absolutely stinks of double standards.