Sam Allardyce, formerly of Sunderland, now of England, Observed

Sixer looks forward to days in the sun
Sixer licks the opposition

Stop press: Sixer was at Rotherham, along with David Moyes, to see an efficient 2-1 win friendly win. His Sixer’s Sevens verdict: “Good workout in front of new boss”

The Observer digs deep one again into its coffers to recruit our own Pete Sixsmith for a few words on Big Sam. How deep? Er, not enough to pay for the ice cream you see him licking; Sixer’s reward may well have to await his arrival on heaven (rather as is the case here at Salut! Sunderland. He was naturally writing before the David Moyes appointment was known) …

When Sam walked into the club,
he inherited a group of players who were unfit, disillusioned and whose collective will was on a par with the recent Shadow Cabinet.

Nine months later, they are as fit as any Sunderland team I have seen, have reservoirs of self belief and are as together as the Spartans were at Thermopylae – the difference being that we won and they lost. He worked with the existing players, improving both full backs and realising that Jermain Defoe could play up front on his own. He brought in three quality signings in January who went on to play a huge part in keeping us in the Premier League.

As for doing anything badly……well, there was that embarrassing dance after the Everton game, but he was forgiven for it.

Sixer at The Observer
Sixer at The Observer

A big success as befits a big man. The crowd knew that he was a good fit for the club; gritty, pragmatic and doing simple things well. There was little or no criticism of him from the vast majority of supporters who began to see a real improvement after Christmas. He had used the time from his appointment to the window opening, assessing what he had and realising who was not up to scratch.

As for England, it’s a different job. He will look to create a similar ethos among the England players but he won’t have them all the time. Players used to different methods will need to adapt to Sam’s. He will be under much greater public scrutiny, particularly from the London based press and London based supporters who don’t take as kindly to him as we Northerners do.

I don’t think he will make many changes. He will use an easy World Cup Qualifying group to look at players and assess their strengths and weaknesses. He won’t have Harry Kane taking corners or Joe Hart walking round with a ridiculous Lion on his back.

As someone who has no interest whatsoever in the national team, I am sorry to see him go. If he doesn’t succeed, it won’t be from lack of hard work.

10 thoughts on “Sam Allardyce, formerly of Sunderland, now of England, Observed”

  1. I think we are being over sensitive. The big England machine swallowed everthing up. The didn’t want their new saying how sad he was to leave, it might increase the compensation. They are just suits who never take the blame for anything, faceless spouters of rhetoric and sound bytes. Sam would have taken us forward but his ambitions were always England based. Is there anyone who believes Hodgeson had limited time left at England. A new manager was inevitable this whole episode was very predictable, did we think England didn’t want Sam?

  2. Pete, I wouldn’t describe the Spartan’s performance at Thermopylae as a defeat. There are no exact fatality figures, but it has been estimated that approximately 2000 Greeks died [ including 300 Spartans ] against 20000 Persians. Got to be at least a draw?

    • Yes, I’d agree. But remember, the Spartans were led by Richard Egan. At least that’s the way I remember it as a kid!

  3. I too am very disappointed at the way this has ended; despite huge disappointment, no one resented Sam’s decision – we were grateful for what he did for us, we wished him well and perhaps felt a oneness not experienced for years.
    I still hope that Sam will find it in himself to thank the players for the enormous efforts of last season, thank the fans equally and then wish us well for the future.

    • I agree. Whatever differences or difficulties he might have had with the directors, the supporters and (remaining) players had backed him wholeheartedly. As Pete says, not all supporters have … or will … back him as fully. At least a word or two to acknowledge this would go a long way.

  4. I was gutted when Sam was first announced as England manager, however that sadness has turned to anger at the way he has left. Not one word about the team he has left nor its supporters. It seems evident that Alladice cared not one jot for SAFC and we were just a stepping stone back into football. It was all about him, him, him. David Moyes has now come in and his first statement speakers of the management, players and supporters as a one. SA has now announced his best ever X1 with no mention of any Sunderland players that helped him get his new shines job. This is just a show of petulance, and makes you wonder what the remaining 12 months of his contract at Sunderland would have been like. Stormy me thinks.

    • I agree, he and Short might have their differences
      but failure to acknowledge the supporters and
      his players would be a case of self belittlement.
      Short has grounds for being angry, Allardyce was
      second choice to a man who chooses to honour
      a contract. Sam did a great job but his leaving
      is shabby. Let’s move on.

  5. I should point out that I did this on Wednesday before the somewhat low key departure. That he did not acknowledge the support at Hartlepool was disappointing and perhaps indicates stresses and strains behind the scenes. But I still wish him well.

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