Everyone knew by Wednesday that Sam Allardyce was England’s new manager; although true to form, it took the FA another two days to announce it officially.
I’m surprised they wanted Allardyce. It was established long ago that whoever happens to run the national team; it is perfectly acceptable for national tabloids and the screamier type of fan to launch a sustained campaign of abuse at him as soon as England concede a corner.
With Allardyce, it’s going to be worse. In fact it already is. There is a thing called “proof by repeated assertion,” whereby a fallacy becomes “true” if it is said often enough.
Someone called Brian Reade had his tantrum printed in the Daily Mirror a week before Allardyce was even appointed.
According to Brian, Allardyce: “Sees the big target-man not as an alternative but a necessity.”
Allardyce’s main contribution to Sunderland’s revival last season was the acquisition of Wahbi Kazri, Jan Kirchhoff and Lamine Koné, a Tunisian, a German and an Ivorian. All three are ball players, with Kirchhoff in particular a footballer that the vocabulary-starved tabloids would call “cultured.”
All dismissed by Brian who extended the patronising waffle about Allardyce’s “loathing for those fancy-dan foreign ways.”
Brian then backed his anti-Allardyce stance with essential facts such as: “Last season, only one Premier League side had less possession or played fewer short passes than his Sunderland team.”
More trivial facts, such as how many points Sunderland accrued under Allardyce were evidently not considered worthy of Brian’s attention.
Those who say that wellying the ball up to a huge striker is “all Allardyce ever does,” would be advised to pay more attention. He certainly isn’t averse to this; we all know that. But five-feet-seven-inch Jermain Defoe can confirm that it isn’t an automatic preference; it’s just that with certain limitations it’s sometimes the best option.
An entertaining nincompoop rang Five Live to say that he would be supporting Scotland while Allardyce is England manager. So we have to wonder if the gentleman in question was a football fan at all.
You can change your address, appearance, career, spouse, politics, nationality, religion or socks. But if you change teams then you aren’t a real football supporter. It’s the law.
However, attention-seeking half-wits on radio phone-ins aside, this is what we are going to hear until Allardyce is out of a job.
Perhaps the dumbest anti-Allardyce charge is that “he’s never won anything.”
While factually correct, those who present it as a trump card in the argument don’t consider the matter in context.
If the managerial careers of Wenger, Mourinho, Conte or whoever had taken them to Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton, Blackburn, Newcastle, West Ham and Sunderland: how many trophies would they have waved around in their time?
No provable answer to that question exists. But the sensible guess is: “Not a sausage. Same as Sam.”
Conversely, the talent of Pep Guardiola is not under issue here.
He may well be as successful at Manchester City as he was at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Yet we can’t help but notice that whichever club he manages, it always seems to be the richest one in the country.
Good luck to Sam then and whoever else it is that actually gives a toss about England, because the chances are that he will fail; as would anyone in the that job.
Fifty years of delusion confirms the myth that England have fantastic players, it’s just that they keep appointing the wrong manager.
Cling on to this fantasy by all means. But if you do feel obliged to point out that English players just haven’t been good enough for an awfully long time, then do so quietly.
Telling the truth is not always popular.