Thursday, March 22, 2018

Allardyce – Top manager or just a long ball merchant?

Big Sam

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce is not everyone’s cup of tea. He gets his teams to play football in a way that many people fail to see has anything to do with the ‘beautiful game’.


He achieved great success at Bolton and was then sacked prematurely by Newcastle during the time when very little at St James’ Park made sense. He is now doing a pretty good job at Blackburn.

His philosophy on football seems to be when his team have the ball, get it forward quickly, preferably to a big man up front and then play off him. If not, get the ball behind the other team’s defence and then try to win it from there. When his team haven’t got the ball, he likes his players to ‘get in their faces’.


I wrote last week about the fact that certain purists, Arsene Wenger for example, have a real problem with the way his teams play. The question is, if Allardyce had the type of talent at his disposal that Wenger does, would he get them to play the Bolton/Blackburn way? Is it possible he is simply playing in a way that he thinks will be the most effective way for his less talented players to have some success?

Last week Allardyce made comments that made the football world sit up and take notice. In fact, more accurately they made the football world snigger.


He said that winning titles if managed clubs like Real Madrid, Inter, Manchester United or Chelsea, “wouldn’t be a problem for me”.

Allardyce was quoted as saying,

“I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid. It wouldn’t be a problem for me to 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 a problem to take me into the higher reaches of the Champions League or Premier League and would make my job a lot easier in winning it.”


After the reaction to his comments Allardyce has spoken out about the fact that he didn’t think anyone would take his comments as seriously as they did.

“I didn’t think it would create quite as big a stir as it has. Somebody asked me if I had found my level and was comfortable as manager at Blackburn Rovers. I’m never comfortable as a manager because I am always looking to improve, and my terms of wanting to improve is about having a burning ambition to always get better than I am. Obviously, in the end, that would always be to try and get to the very, very top of the industry that I am working in.”


Despite distancing himself from the remarks he made last week, Allardyce was keen to reiterate his belief in himself.

“I believe in my own ability, that is the bottom line. At the moment it is with Blackburn, which I am very pleased about.”

What do you think? Is Allardyce a good manager doing the best he can with the players at his disposal? If so, could he walk into one of the top jobs and achieve success? Or is he a long ball merchant who should never expect to get one of the top jobs?


Graham Fisher



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