Sometimes, you have to feel sorry for Sam Allardyce. Other times, he doesn’t make it easy for you. Take this quote from 2010: “I would be more suited to Internazionale or Real Madrid. 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.”
That’s quite the boast from a manager who in England has only won the Third Dision title. The sympathy comes from his nine-year stint at Bolton from 1990-2007, where they finished sixth and qualified for the UEFA Cup, and where he said he had quit because the board would not give him the money required to build a squad capable of winning the silverware he so craves.
His time at West Ham has been dogged by criticism from fans over his “pragmatic” style, one Hammers fans consider to be lacking in the flair required of their team However, an improvement in style and an impressive run of results that had the club flirting with Europe had the fans seemingly off his back. But results have gone against him recently, and media reports of his departure at the end of the season have again been circling like vultures.
Allardyce hardly helped himself recently when he said: “I don’t think there is any coach more sophisticated than me anymore,” an exercise in self-appraisal that had Cockney’s choking on their pie and mash.
Saturday’s match with Palace – which could perhaps have been dubbed “The Ego versus the Eagles”– brought us Gameweek 27’s Star Man, Palace’s Jason Puncheon.
Puncheon assisted all three of Palace’s goals for 14 points. Eagles boss Alan Pardew has a parallel with Allardyce after his spell at Newcastle. A southerner who was deeply unpopular at a northern club and Allardyce a northerner unpopular at a southern side, all empathy was left at home in Palace’s 3-1 derby win.
A victory that, unless results improve again, makes it look increasingly likely that May 24 will indeed be Big Sam’s last day at Upton Park.
A manager who clearly has an unparalleled claim to be among the most sophisticated is Ratana Chiv of Ratana United, who wins $20 Cellcard phone credit with which to be deservedly as big-headed as Big Sam.
Ratana had Puncheon, Manchester United’s brace-bagging striker Wayne Rooney as captain for 26 points, and Arsenal’s Mezut Ozil, who supplied two assists for 10, to accumulate a cracking 74 points.
Other notable Dream Teamers were Newcastle defender Daryl Janmaat with 12 points for an assist and Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who scored another beauty.
With “games played” unequal due to various commitments, and with the impending FA Cup weekend, we have the unusual situation of an 11-match gameweek, which ends with travel-sick QPR at home to Spurs on Saturday, both playing twice this week.