Friday, June 9, 2023

More madness, more sadness

Not everyone's favourite, but he didn't deserve this

My first reaction to Sam Allardyce being sacked by Blackburn was nowhere near as strong and indignant as that I had when Chris Hughton was given the boot at Newcastle.

However, having thought about it, the decision is almost as breathtakingly stupid when you analyse the situation.


Allardyce took over the club last season when they were in the depths of despair and in the relegation zone. He steadied the ship on one of the smallest budgets in the Premier League and took the team to a more than respectable tenth placed finish. His season, he has continued the good work and kept his side in mid-table. That is no small achievement with the resources available at Blackburn during that period.

There are a few reasons why I wasn’t initially so cross. Firstly, it is hard to fall in love with Big Sam’s philosophy of how football should be played. His teams are not great to watch and the lump it forward and hope for the best mentality plays the percentages but it doesn’t excite. Secondly, Big Sam is prone to the odd ridiculous comment. His suggestion that he would do a good job at Real Madrid was treated with disdain.


Put all that to one side though and it is impossible to argue against the fact that Allardyce has been successful and that he has done about as well as anyone could have done in the same circumstances. One day he is being talked of as a possible future England manager (God forbid!) and the next day he is being sacked.

It is difficult to draw any conclusion other than the fact that the Premier League has finally gone totally mad. I am really worried about where it is all going. Football, and the Premier League in particular, has had it good for a long time. We might be witnessing the whole thing unravelling as the fans will lose faith soon if things like this keep happening.


When Hughton was sacked we all assumed that a big name would be coming in at Newcastle. With all due respect to Alan Pardew, he was hardly what was expected. When Allardyce was sacked we all assumed a big name must already be lined up to take his place. It would seem not. Coach Steve Kean is in temporary charge of the team and according to Anuradha Desai, chairwoman of the club’s Venky Group owners, that may remain the case for a while.

“It could now be a couple of months before a new manager is put in place. Right now we are going to have a study and put a lot of thought into who the next manager will be. We don’t want to make a hasty decision and we are in a good position to take our time because Steve is quite capable. Our thinking now is that it will be a British manager, but we are open if there is an outstanding candidate who would be really, really good for the club. Right now Steve Kean will take over while we are looking for someone to take over on a permanent basis. Steve is a hard worker and he is doing a very good job as a coach. We have been studying him and have been very impressed. He works long hours and is talented at his job.”


She went on to say that the change would be in the best interests of the club.

“We do not mean anything bad for Sam Allardyce but we feel that we need to take the club up in the league and grow. We want Blackburn to be fourth or fifth in the league or even better. It is not about the Bolton match. It has been a long time in our minds. It is nothing against Sam but we have a different vision looking forward and we want the club to grow. We had been talking to Sam for the past few weeks and he did not fit in with our vision for the club’s future. We wanted good football, wanted the games to be interesting and, of course, wanted to win and to have good players. We needed to make some changes and Sam going is of course the main change. This is a major step, but we thought ‘why delay?’. The fans should trust us and have belief because this is in the best interests of the club.”

An owner asking the fans to trust them, I’m afraid, is way too much to ask!


Sir Alex Ferguson is a close friend of Sam Allardyce and he reacted with predictable anger to the news.

“I’ve never heard of such a stupid decision in all my life. I don’t know what they’re doing up there, but deary me. It confounds common sense. Absolutely ridiculous.”

With the possible exception of Hughton’s sacking, I think Fergie may well be right. I think he speaks for most of us and I hope that people can get a groundswell of opinion mounting that brings an end to these ridiculous owners playing around with a game that means so much to so many of us.


Graham Fisher



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