I USED to love shit horror films, blissfully ignoring the shortcomings — bad acting, poor plot, unrealistic stunts — and sticking with it for the good bits; that it was kind of entertaining and some of it made you jump.
A classic of the genre in the 1980s was the Halloween series. Michael Myers — him of odd mask and over-sized kitchen knife — starred in the first two, but the third sadly didn’t feature the main loon.
Spoilers here, but Halloween III instead focused on Silver Shamrock Halloween masks, which featured a secret chip in the back. Watch the TV advert wearing one, and the wearer is engulfed by a lethal swarm of insects and snakes — the idea being a mass sacrifice in the name of witchcraft.
What then, has this got to do with anything, you may well ask.
Well, the film came to mind when thinking about Sam Allardyce and England. He isn’t a shit horror film, obviously, but he does have a string of serious shortcomings that a huge number of people seem willing to ignore. It almost feels like a conspiracy. But while Halloween III had compliant androids to do the dirty work, “Big Sam” has the clueless FA suits ready to make the same mistakes all over again.
Allardyce isn’t, as far as I’m aware, using chipped Halloween masks to make his point. But, just as the kids nod their heads from side to side to the eternally annoying Silver Shamrock advert, oblivious to it’s nefarious intentions, it seems many banged the drum for a cause oblivious of what they were committing to.
Now they’ve got what they wanted. The FA are appointing Samuel Allardyce as England manager.
Since old hippo head was tipped to walk in the shoes of Roy Hodgson, normally sane football writers have pulled on their rubber masks and typed out the same arguments for Allardyce to be appointed England manager, their keyboards perhaps consumed by worms and snakes once their evil work was done.
They didn’t use torturous horror film analogies (a lesson there) but most offered up some or all of the following when selling Sam to the masses:
- He’s English
- He’s managed over 1,000 games
- He’s never been relegated
- He “deserves” a chance
- He will tighten England up defensively
- He wouldn’t have lost to Iceland
- Ferguson has backed him for the job
- He would give England “identity”
Where to start.
Pie and gravy football without a major honour as player or manager? A list of achievements that doesn’t seem befitting of a job regarded as one of the biggest by some (and attracting a salary of £3.9m — the best wage packet on show among managers at Euro 2016).
Not losing to Iceland — a result regarded as one of, if not the, worst in 144 years of England contesting football matches. Aiming high there.
But this isn’t just to pull apart points made by other writers.
It’s fair to say that Sam has banged his own drum, too. Subtle as a brick to the face, the bull-like chewer of bowling balls of gum has made it known to all that he wanted the job. And that he “deserves” it. Of course.
The man whose football career as a — you guessed it — “no nonsense centre half” took him from Bolton to Preston North End via Sunderland, Millwall, Coventry, Huddersfield, West Brom and Limerick, has never been shy of telling everyone just how good he is.
Wind back six years, and we had this corker:
“I’m not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Inter or Real Madrid,” Allardyce said. “It wouldn’t be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time.
“Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s not where I’m suited to, it’s just where I’ve been for most of the time.
“It’s not a problem to take me into the higher reaches of the Champions League or Premier League and [it] would make my job a lot easier in winning it.”
And yet, funny, none of those clubs ever came knocking. But that wasn’t Big Sam’s fault. That was his Englishness. Because everyone is against England, Englishness and Sam, and that’s the spirit he’ll bring to the table to make the Three Lions roar.
Two years after the quote above, he said: “‘I won’t ever be going to a top-four club because I’m not called Allardici, just Allardyce.”
Good old, Sam. English Sam. British Bulldog Sam. Little England Sam. Sam who disparages foreigners Sam. Sam bordering on xenophobic Sam.
Jermain Defoe elbows Nicolas Otamendi. Sam: “Jermain Defoe doesn’t elbow anybody on purpose. They make a big fuss about it and that’s what they do.That’s mostly foreign players, they do make a big fuss of it. That’s in their nature. They react in a more volatile way to incidents like that than we do.”
Jürgen Klopp thinks Sunderland midfielder Jermaine Lens should have been sent off for a strong tackle on Mamadou Sakho. Sam: “He’s a soft German if that’s a red card.”
Allardyce also brings up — with depressing regularity — the apparent lack of opportunity for home-grown coaches. Using the old best-man-for-the-job criteria, it’s hard to know quite who isn’t getting the chance and where, he doesn’t say. Instead we get the broad brush, which all sounds a bit coming over here, taking our jobs Alf Garnett-esque tosh.
He’s had regular run-ins with Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez, too, ridiculously claiming Rafa had “nowt to do with” winning the Champions League in 2005 and making a fuss about a supposed “game over” signal when his Blackburn side were battered at Anfield. It was anything but.
He also spat out the line: “Being a foreigner, Rafa doesn’t understand it’s supposed to be Premier League first and Champions League second.”
Sound, isn’t he? Lovely fella. Deserves it. Rafa gave some back though. Of course he did. And in his sarcastic pop there lay much truth.
“I think he is a model for all the managers all around the world,” joked Benitez.
“His style of football, his behaviour, everything. He is the perfect role model for all the kids. I am sure parents will enjoy this model and encourage their kids to be the same.
“I also think Barcelona are trying to copy his style of football.”
Rafa was taking the piss. And that’s what people all over the world will be doing right now.
In the past, Allardyce has been overlooked in favour of Roy Hodgson. He’s been overlooked in favour of Steve McClaren. He’s still the same man. Playing the same football. Acting the same way. And this is the best England can come up with. A third choice to McClaren and Hodgson.
Think of some of the supposed positives bandied around about him. He’s old school. He’s a disciplinarian. He will tighten things up, make England hard to beat.
What an inspiration.
In an age when football in this country perhaps more than ever before needs to make a real effort to appeal to the younger generations to actually play the game, and to watch it live, at the match, rather on the telly, what does this move say? That England are up and at ‘em. England are tough. England are physical. Don’t keep the ball. Don’t play good football. Just get organised. Stop. Block. Fight. Tackle. And dream up some cleverness around set pieces.
If Sam is so obsessed about England coaches getting a chance, how about recommending one? A young one. A fresh one. A progressive one. Someone whose appointment would suggest something different from the stale state of affairs that is the status quo.
The old boys’ club argument is another cracker. Ferguson recommends his old LMA cohort? Sound. Where was the recommendation for fat head to manage at Old Trafford when Ferguson hung up his stopwatch?
Despite years of clinking glasses, playing lapdog and brown-nosing at every opportunity, there was no shout for Sam at the crucial time. Because Ferguson is many things but he’s not stupid. He will remember when old Sam cocked it up at Newcastle. When the West Ham fans hated his football. When he managed — and encouraged — the man who has committed the most fouls in Premier League history, Kevin Davies, to do more of the same. When his supposedly revolutionary techniques included stand in front of the keeper on corners. Get stuck in. Keep it tight. Show them we’re men.
I’m not an active England fan. I’ve never paid a penny to go and watch them and probably never will. Why do I give a fuck? Because of what it represents. Because of what it says. Because football in England is arrogant, and needs to change.
He is the ghost of football past. Of ‘just fucking launch it’.
And he’s a twat and a bit ridiculous.
He blamed not getting the England job once before on not being able to use Powerpoint.
In that 15-year top-flight management career so many bang on about, he has taken charge of only eight games in Europe; in the UEFA Cup with Bolton in 2005/06.
He was sacked after only eight months and 24 Premier League games at Newcastle. That’s the biggest club he’s managed. And they weren’t sad to see him go.
Football’s Red Adair, brought in to fight fires, to get results, to make things happen, anyway, anyhow, in the short term. But long term? Grass roots? Other levels of the game? The big picture?
How about as a figurehead? His head is massive, but does it figure? Do we have Allardyce quotes being traded on social media, written on posters, used as motivation? Or do many, if not most, think he should be nowhere near such a role?
Will the current crop of senior England players be jumping for joy at the thought of playing for this man? Will they bolllocks. Not when their place now comes under threat from Lee Cattermole and Andy Carroll.
It’s more of the same, this. More underwhelming, more overpaying, and a decision ultimately taken by Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive, who, as Roy Hodgson swung his last haymakers at a nation that wearily dodged the bullshitter’s attack, revealed he was “no football expert”.
You don’t say.
It’s almost time, kids. The clock is ticking. Be in front of your TV sets for the Horrorthon…Sam Allardyce’s first match in charge of England will be a World Cup qualifier away to Slovakia on September 4th.
Not keen then?
Great piece, very funny.
Can we just tell Sturridge, Clyne etc just not to bother going on international duty any more coz no one, not even the FA apparantly, take it serious anymore?
It’s fucking hilarious that after their soul searching from the Euros the answer they’ve come up with is Sam fucking Alardyce.
Just when I thought FA and England can’t screw it anymore after Hodgson debacle, they come up with even bigger one.
Good luck England.
Good read Agree with a lot of this but:
Grass roots models and the identity of the the most elite group of players , playing qualifiers and tournaments is the epiopmy of short term football. You can’t take , say Jamie vardy and try and his game to suit sturridge in two training session every three months. An international manger has a set of resources to choose from and has to get the best out of them with minimal coaching of his style .
Does that mean he is the best man for the job ? No.
Could he make the England team competitive at major tournament ? Possibly?
Will it pretty ? No could it be effective? Maybe ?
The one guarantee Big Sam provides is that England will never be relegated.
You communist. Sam Alardyce is a GREAT man…and he deserves it, dammit!!
Personally, I don’t give a flying fuck about England. I like seeing them lose. I enjoy watching fat bunters in vests and Union Jack shorts getting battered by European Riot police, spilling their lager out of plastic pint glasses.
What this means is the void left by this repugnant motherfucker could well be filled by a manager who knows his tactics and strategy, which could cost us points.
David Moyes mate…
haha, happy days!
To be fair to the FA, Sam was behind Shhhttteeeve McClaren and The Hodge (reads books, but not on football) and now its his turn. After Sam there will be no English managers left and if Eddie Howe has half a brain he will avoid being asked next time. In this post-brexit era I cannot think of anyone better to showcase to the world what English national football stands for. As with The Hodge (reads books but not on football) it will be a joy to watch big Sam fail and a lifetimes work be exposed as what it is. For a moment I was worried that Glen Hoddle might get the job, but his time in Monaco and the ghosts of the faith healer counted against him and of course he did not play 4-4-2 and looked like he new what he was doing and that was never going to be a vote winner. Thank God for that, I can continue to enjoy international football without the worry that England will do well.
P.S OMG Steve Bruce, he has to be the next one on the FA’s list after big Sam, he even has bouncebackability, the FA do have a long term plan.
He’s managed over 1,000 games
He’s (never been relegated) got bounceback ability
He “deserves” a chance
He will tighten England up defensively
He wouldn’t have lost to Iceland
Ferguson has backed him for the job
He would give England “identity”
Good list that Robbo
I continuously hear pundits say “he’s great at keeping teams in the Premier League”.
Ok, so he’s good at managing in League format. Which means England will no doubt breeze through qualifiers…like they always do.
What is Sam like in knockout cup competitions? We know he’s never won one, but does anyone know the furthest he has taken a team in a knockout competition? Because that is the type of competition that England always fail at.
First brexit, now this. It’s not looking good for old England.
Thank God for that soft German.
I am a Liverpool supporter from…drum roll…Iceland. Before the game against England, I did not seriously think Iceland had much chance of winning. The only real hope I had was that England had Roy Hodgson and that he would somehow tactically fuck it up. And Jesus H. Christ, son of Fowler, what a glorious fuck up it was.
I watched the game at a bar with football supporters from many countries and some of them actually had their mouths open in shock over just how weird the England setup was. I was going to spare you my long throw speech, but I just have to ask, why on earth was Rooney marking the zone where the ball was always going to drop? It was stupid beyond belief.
After this debacle, the FA is going to hire Sam Allardyce? Well, I am settled now with a wife and all that, but if I was 20 years younger I think I would want try out the drugs the imbeciles at the FA are taking.
You have just demonstrated more awareness of football tactics than the last three England Managers combined. If you have a gigantic head orn you could be in with a real shot of the job after the next world cup.
I agree with pretty much all the observations about his patented brand of oafishness, his self-satisfied smugness, his rarefied air of misplaced self-importance, etc, BUT…. I actually think this might not be the worst appointment for England (not that I’m really arsed, as I’m Irish).
Leaving aside his ridiculous pronouncements, his teams have been known, on occasion, to play better football in recent years. He did acquire aging Eurogods like Jay Jay, Djorkaeff and Hierro, and had them playing well (he failed with Jardel, granted). He turned human wardrobe Kevin Davies into a goalscoring wardrobe. And he seems to have mellowed a bit in recent years.
These days the England job is primarily about creating a positive environment within the goldfish bowl and putting players in the right positions and getting them to play. And yes, making them ‘tough to beat’ when required. He might well be able to achieve all of this, and is he going to be worse than Woy? I mean, is that actually possible? It’s also a chance for him to show whether or not his blather about being capable of managing Real Madrid etc had even a shred of credibility, or whether it’s just the idle boasting of a blowhard. Either way, it’s going to be great finding out and probably, ultimately, falling apart.
Agree with this, ‘apparently’ players like playing for him, if that’s true then it’s a step up from Hodge straight away. Portugal won playing a bit boring and aother defensively, if England win next to world cup without winning a game in 90 minutes no will will care, they’ll just trot out ‘best in the world’
The really sad fact is that if Woy hadn’t used Rooney, Wilshere and a bunch of knackered Spurs players, HE would still be manager.
Ha! Then you guys would be……..pretty much in the same place: indifferent.
A 2 year WC/EC cycle is 10 or so quallies, a smattering of friendlies and then hopefully 7 “cup finals”. So, if you own a team and have 25 games to get to safety by hook or by crook who do you call? The problem with our team is not the group of very talented players but leadership on and off the field. We used to field a team of club captains. BS will drill all the pleasure out of them but they will know what to do. Its not going to be pretty and in the long term a complete waste of an opportunity….again. See you again for more of the same in 4 years time. Sigh.
All I know is he came up with a 4-diamond-2 formation and selected players in such a way as to nullify and frustrate the much-admired Brendan Rodgers inspired, Stevie-as-deep-lying-playmaker-and-maestro LFC.
Hope it goes tits up for fat head,
Similar to itchy head would do nicely,
Cried like a bitch to Fergie when Rafa allegedly made a (vague) signal that the game was over after a goal went in,
Was always derogatory towards Rafa for little reason, cozying up to Fergie it seemed more often than not,
Was a wart on the arse of any team he played in, a big immobile shite defender with crap distribution, means fuck all as a manager but it’s still worth noting (he obviously rems himself in a different light)
Nodded in agreement through this whole piece.
Spot on Robbo, Fathead getting this role is beyond belief. Yet again it shows the power of the media when it comes to important decisions. 95% of fans would not touch this gobshite with a big stick, yet here we have a media elite generally supporting him because he throws out the odd quote now and again, because as you have pointed out it can’t be related to any football reasons as they are obviously all shite.
The FA are changing their name to the FU as in Fuck Ups as yet again they sink to new levels of incompetence. Inspiration, innovation, leadership, progressiveness all words yet again glady ignored by a bunch of gin supping tossers who will appoint the tosser they deserve.
Fat head has always had a particular dislike for our club let’s hope he carries that on and stops picking our lads for England duty ensuring they don’t get injured whilst wasting their time playing kick and rush football.
If they do ever manage to extract Fat Head from Taggarts arse the FU will have indeed got their man.
Thank god we are Scouse not English.
The first Halloween is a classic. The Benitez ‘it’s over’ arms against Blackburn ’09 of films.
Getting Newcastle relegated so that Sam gets the the England job is Rafa’s revenge.
I have been turned off football by the wages paid to these mollycoddled average (the most part) players. But it is now apparent that the managers are also part of the problem and live in the same bubble oblivious to how fans perceive their actions. England are totally irrelevant to me and like Gareth I shouldnt care but I cant help feeling embarrassed. This arranged marriage is sure to fail….good.
However, as Gareth alluded, have MU shown their colours here? We have Ferguson, Mourinho and Gill endorsing Allardyce and he gets the job. Do, as we have suspected for a long time now (esp refs), they run football in this country?
You make good points Gareth, but to be fair it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Yes you’re right, can’t argue, nothing to see here, move along.
You’ve eloquently given your riposte to Big Sam’s appointment, but what about “balance”? How would you suggest the FA go about their recruitment process? What qualities should we be looking for in the next England manager? Whom, indeed, should have got the nod?
I guess this will put me in a minority of one here, but i actually don’t mind Big Sam, never have particularly, even if he is a bit of a knob. I agree with more or less all of the criticisms at him leveled above, and i still don’t think it’s the worst appointment in the world. He’s surely going to be better than McClaren, and Hodgson. Bearing in mind, i really do believe anyone could do as well as Hodgson, me, you, your mates sister etc etc.
I’m not expecting top players to be particularly enthused by him, but i am expecting they will at least have a plan, and wasn’t he in charge of Bolton (i could be wrong) when they quite routinely used to punch above their weight and finish closer to the right end of the table, than the bottom, and have a decent cup run every year ? The football may not be overly pretty, but a bit of pragmatism seems to work wonders for the Italians.
At the very least i will be a little bit more interested over the next two years to see how he does.