The Allardyce Argument
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
After England’s spectacular Euro 2016 campaign it’s time for the FA to choose the fifth manager of England in a decade. Lots of names have been put into the hat and a few have pulled out of the apparent career destroying role.
One such suggestion that has come up is the current Sunderland manager, Sam Allardyce.
I don’t happen to think this would be such a bad thing, despite his reputation he is a very good manager. The problem that people have with him is that he is associated with bottom half clubs.
In 25 years of management Allardyce has only been relegated once. He has consistently taken control of clubs struggling in the Prem and lower divisions and is yet to leave with a club in a worse position. He took control of Blackburn and Sunderland with the clubs in 19th position and successfully kept both clubs in the Premiere League. At Blackburn the season after he saved them from relegation, Allardyce lead them to the semi finals of the League cup despite loosing his top striker, Roque Santa Cruz.
Although the League Cup is not the most glamorous of trophies, it is still a semi final of a national competition, seeing off Chelsea in the process. With Allardyce it’s apparent that the results are key. It may not be pretty and it may not be fashionable but it’s about winning and getting over the line.
I would argue that that is exactly England’s problem; getting over the line. Against Russia, Italy and Slovakia we either had leads that were squandered or we couldn’t force a goal from somewhere. Defence of small leads and the ability to grind out results are one of the England’s biggest problems and Big Sam’s specialty. Does it not make sense to address those problems head on?
You’ll be sure Sam will do that; address the issues head on. But his no-nonsense managerial style hasn’t earnt him favours. At Newcastle, Blackburn and Bolton he left after falling out with the backroom staff, a fact that would make the prospect of working for the FA interesting to say the least. The past decade of England managers would suggest that the FA prefer men who won’t put up much of a fight. Erikson, Cappello and Hodgson seemed to do all they could to appease the FA and McClarren was a proven yes man.
That’s what England need though; someone to put England first instead of what the FA want. Allardyce would get results on a regular basis and take on the most formidable teams. He’ll select the team that he thinks is the best and get results. At Blackpool he joined the club when they were 12th in the second division and left after an unsuccessful Play off campaign (finished 3rd). At Notts County although being relegated in his first season he won Division three in his second season and kept them in Division 2 in his third season.
At Bolton he took a team that was struggling in the bottom half of Division 1 to promotion to the Premiere league through the Play offs in the same season. In later seasons he successfully kept Bolton in the Premiere League and then grew them into a team that made it through the group stages of the Europa League. This man knows football and he knows how to get results.
For those who said that Allardyce doesn’t have the pedigree to be the manager of England I’d remind you that Hodgson didn’t exactly dazzle at teams such as Inter Milan or Liverpool. In fact he found more success with Fulham and, arguably, West Brom; teams that were struggling. In my mind he would be the best fit to take England away from football that gets us qualification but capitulates under the pressure in the summer tournaments and into a team that will get results and do well.