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Don't Sack Sam Allardyce

Newcastle United face Arsenal this afternoon in a vital match for both clubs. Expect the cameras to be zooming in on Sam Allardyce as they look for a hint of self doubt or anger on his face.

While Big Sam’s future at St. James’ Park is in doubt, I feel he deserves a few more weeks in charge to see if he can turn Newcastle United’s fortunes around. While other clubs were wise to sack their managers (Wigan, Spurs, Bolton and Chelsea), Big Sam has proven himself as a manager while at Bolton.

At the beginning of the season, Newcastle was in a terrible mess and they still are, but giving Allardyce the heave-ho at this point will serve no purpose except to add to another long list of managers at Newcastle who have failed to achieve.

What is vital, however, is that Newcastle needs to put in a performance today at St. James’ Park to restore the faith among the fans. They need to see a gritty performance where the players are trying to win every 50/50 ball. The United players need to show how much pride they have in wearing the Newcastle shirt and fight for their lives.

Against Arsenal it’s never going to be easy, but if Newcastle wants the boost they desperately need, today’s match against the Gunners will go a long way to helping Big Sam.

While the Newcastle United players have a lot to prove, so too does Sam Allardyce. If he wants to have ambitions of managing England in the future, he needs to turn around the ship at Newcastle and make this team into a winning side. All he needs to get started is a few victories between now and New Years. Let’s see what he’s made of.

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  1. MJ

    December 5, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Again, I beg to differ with you about Chelsea. Other than that anomalous 6-0 victory over City, they’ve played the same dour style that people were criticizing when Mourinho was in charge. The way they play puts you to sleep, and although it’s effective, my point is that if all things are equal, I’d rather have Mourinho as my manager if I’m going to play 2-1 and 1-0 games under both him and Avram Grant

    Under Grant, Chelsea have played a total of 15 games in all competitions. In two of those games, the final score was 0-0. In two more, the score was 1-0 to Chelsea. In a whopping 5 of those games, the score was 2-0 to Chelsea or a 2-0 Chelsea loss. There was also a 1-1 draw mixed in there as well. The only time Chelsea scored more than twice in a game (aside from the City game) was either in the Carling Cup against lower-league opposition or in the Champions League (4-0 at Rosenborg).

    Take this as an example: Chelsea beat Derby recently 2-0 in a snoozefest and beat Bolton 1-0, whereas Liverpool beat Derby 6-0, Arsenal beat Derby 5-0, West Ham beat Derby 5-0, and Spurs beat Derby 4-0. Portsmouth beat Bolton 3-1, Liverpool beat them 4-0, and Arsenal beat them 2-0.

    I understand that scores don’t necessarily mean much, but the one common element of all those teams (aside from Chelsea, Derby, and Bolton) is that they score a lot of goals and play an attacking style. Chelsea are playing the same exact way under Grant that they did under Mourinho and anyone who knows soccer would rather have Mourinho than Grant if you’re going to play that same style.

    The reason Mourinho left is not because of how the team was performing, it’s because of friction between him and upper management. All I’m trying to say is that using Mourinho, and to a lesser extent, Martin Jol, as an example in which to compare Sam Allardyce isn’t the most sound reasoning because both of those guys have been more succesful than Allardyce, and to say Chelsea and Spurs were wise to get rid of them while saying Newcastle should keep Allardyce based on his “proving himself” isn’t accurate.

  2. The Gaffer

    December 5, 2007 at 7:50 pm


    The decisions to sack Jol and Mourinho were sound ones. Chelsea is playing much better football now than they were in Mourinho’s last days, while Jol wasn’t adding anything of value to the Spurs side.

    Allardyce is a different story. It’s more the team than the manager that needs work. With the right amount of patience, Allardyce will be able to get more results and to keep his job safe.

    The Gaffer

  3. MJ

    December 5, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Just one more thing.

    You said that “while other clubs were wise to sack their managers (Wigan, Spurs, Bolton, and Chelsea), Big Sam has proven himself as a manager while at Bolton. I’ll agree with you about Bolton and Wigan; neither Chris Hutchings nor Sammy Lee were qualified to manage a Premiership team.

    How can you say, however, that Chelsea were wise to force Mourinho out the door?? If I’m not mistaken, and I know I’m not, Mourinho led the Blues to back-to-back Premiership titles, two Carling Cups and an FA Cup, and a Champions League, back-to-back Portuguese titles, and a UEFA Cup with Porto, yet somehow Big Sam proved himself with a few top-8 finishes in the league??? Please.

    Martin Jol was nowhere near as successful at Tottenham as Mourinho was in West London, but he did win a Dutch Cup with Roda JC, consecutive 5th place finishes with Tottenham (meaning they were the best team outside the “Big Four” for two years running), and would’ve finished 4th in 2005-2006 if nearly half the team didn’t come down ill from food poisoning right before the last game of the season. Again, how Big Sam is a better manager than Martin Jol is beyond me.

    Not sure how you can say that Chelsea and Spurs were wise to their more succesful managers yet Newcastle should keep Allardyce around because of what he did at Bolton.

  4. MJ

    December 5, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Here’s the thing with Sam Allardyce. When he managed at Bolton, there was little in the way of expectations or pressure; everything he accomplished and those top-8 finishes were a bonus because they exceeded what people thought Bolton could do.

    Now that he’s at a bigger club like Newcastle where there are higher expectations (though I’m not sure why because they haven’t won anything in a while) and everything he does is more scrutinized, he’s shown that he can’t handle the pressure even with a roster that actually has some decent talent on it.

    Sam Allardyce is no different than many of the other English managers: average at best, sometimes bordering on clueless, but when they’re put in a situation where nothing is expected of them, they sometimes overachieve (see Steve McLaren at Boro and then at England; it’s the same thing).

    If they get pasted today and then lose to Birmingham this weekend, he should be sacked. He wasn’t Mike Ashley’s choice and hire as manager and Newcastle obviously are a team that is going nowhere fast. Allardyce brought in his guys during the summer, HIS players, and they’ve failed miserably.

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