Dave Posted May 4, 2007 Share Posted May 4, 2007 Felt it was worth highlighting. Sam - a view The current popular view seems to be that were are inevitably heading towards a union with free agent Sam Allardyce. Just in case there's an ounce of truth in that story, we feel compelled to say that we're not totally beside ourselves with excitement over this, for the following reasons: The Panorama programme: We're not going to attract any lawsuits by commenting on the allegations, but let's recall that the eyebrows raised about Allardyce stemmed from comments made on camera by his own son, Craig. Kevin Bond seems to have been shown the door at SJP as a result of a far less substantial afterthought tagged on the end of the same programme. (NB: There's been no sign of the threatened legal action from Allardyce against the BBC as yet. His son is no longer an agent and was last reported as being involved the Spanish property market). Style of play: While we've never subscribed to the popular notion that Newcastle fans would rather lose 4-3 than win a sterile contest 1-0, Allardyce has long been associated with some rotten football of a type we've not seen since Jack Charlton bought Cunningham & Reilly and put the squeeze on Waddle and Beardsley. Will a team of long-throw specialists and dead-ball experts fill 60,000 seats? Will a no-nonsense approach really get our players into line? Souness couldn't pull it off. Signings & Spending: Allardyce to date has been good with small budgets, buying older players and wringing the very last drops of effort out of them. Hopes are a little higher here - just. The signing of Nicolas Anelka was hailed as by far his biggest deal - a player repeatedly touted to Newcastle, but sent on his bike for numerous valid reasons, only for Bolton to take him. Either the player's outrageous demands were toned down - or Bolton were prepared to meet them. What could he do with a bigger budget? Who knows? He remains unproven at a big club with a large fan base with big (unrealistic? possibly) expectations. The Cult of Personality: One of the least attractive traits Allardyce shows is a rent-a-quote tendency to shout the odds, especially when Sky cameras are rolling. When speaking from an LMA perspective, his vocal opposition to Roeder's permanent appointment at SJP verged on the obnoxious, while referring to oneself in the third person as "Big Sam" in his Bolton programme notes spoke volumes. Some shameless self-promotion when he thought he would replace Sven as the next England manager was also unbecoming. Allardyce's genuine incredulity at not being appointed suggested a frightening degree of self- absorption. That comes across as big -headedness at times. No, No, Yes: Allardyce has already turned us down after Sir Bobby Robson and his putter were given their cards. Why? He obviously thought that he was at a better club then - or needed to give his chairman a nudge to open his wallet. (Note that we have it on decent authority that Allardyce has twice turned down the chance to take over at SJP - the second one presumably being post-Souness.) Has our stock really fallen so much and is this guy so wonderful that we'll now go back for a third time? Red & White eyes: He's an ex-mackem. OK, that's not a reason to avoid employing an outstanding manager or player - we'd have welcomed Brian Clough at the height of his managerial powers. For a section of the fanbase though, this remains another obstacle Allardyce would have to overcome before gaining acceptance. Young Man: Bolton's reserve side have just won the league. They played Newcastle on Tyneside in March, lining up with a side composed of two Poles, two Slovaks, an Israeli, an Iranian, a Portuguese, a Spaniard and three Englishmen. Allardyce has shown he's prepared to bring young players into the first team, but not necessarily local young players. Without lapsing into John Hall Geordie Nation rhetoric - is this important to us or not? On the other hand: His on-field organisation is undeniable, even if some of his purchases are less than savoury (Diouf in a black and white shirt anyone?). The signing of Gary Speed and his consequent Reebok renaissance is interesting, both in terms of what Allarydce achieved and also that one of the most respected professionals still playing was content under Sam's stewardship. Trying to look in from the outside, to turn our noses up at Allardyce for perceived stylistic shortcomings is verging on the pious. After all, his side has finished above us in the league for the last three seasons and we've hardly been reproducing Brazil '70 on a weekly basis. There are echoes of Arthur Cox's appointment, when people were openly disappointed that big names like McMenemy, Paisley, Clough, Robson etc. weren't coming to SJP. Then, as now, why the hell would they come here? Unlike the Souness and Roeder appointments, our inbox isn't bulging with emails from fans of their previous clubs warning of the dire consequences of employing their ex. The NUFC.com get out clause: So who do we suggest then? Simple. We suggest no-one. No internet campaigns, no online petitions. Nein Danke. If someone wants to pay us the Chairman's wages then we will happily scour the planet to unearth the next Arsene Wenger. Until then though we'll try to present a vaguely coherent and independent viewpoint, rather than just recycling other people's views or writing things to please those in power. Our gut feeling remains the same though as it did the day Bobby departed - the whole thing needs overhauling from top to bottom. 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