Alan Pardew compared Sam Allardyce to a dinosaur when he branded the Sunderland manager’s comments as “pre-historic” last weekend.
But throughout his managerial career, Allardyce has been at the forefront of new thinking, ideas and techniques. Ice baths and a resident sports psychologist are just two of the innovations which have arrived at Sunderland over the last seven months.
Allardyce, himself, uses meditation to cope with the strains and stress of Premier League management – vital when Sunderland are involved in a nerve-wringing relegation battle.
It appears to be paying off, with the Sunderland boss just as calm and composed on the eve of this weekend’s visit of Chelsea as he has been even in the darkest days of the Black Cats’ fight for survival.
Allardyce said: “I do transcendental meditation and I have done for 12 to 14 years now. It’s very relaxing, very calming and you can do it anywhere.
“It helps you cope with the pressure you come under in this job.
“When it was brought for the players by us at Bolton in about 2003-04, I was always one of those guys that said ‘Try it yourself’.
“You have a better understanding then if you try it yourself. If the players talk about it and say ‘Well, that’s a load of rubbish’ you can say ‘Well, actually I use it and I don’t find it to be like that, so you must be a bit of a non-believer’.
“But I read the science on transcendental meditation and if you read the science on transcendental meditation, it gives you a better insight into how it helps you reduce your blood pressure and keeps you calmer and how easy it is to carry out.
“Fifteen minutes, half an hour, you don’t have to be going into a quiet room with music on or anything like that.
“You can be anywhere at any time finding a relatively quiet place and do 15, 20, 25 minutes and it refreshes you and makes you feel good to push on.
“With the science behind it as well, it’s proved to most people that it actually works for you if you do it in the right way.
“But it has helped me cope with the pressure of management. That’s why I am still doing it today, probably.”