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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Allardyce made to pay for media pressure

A lot has been mentioned mostly about the top four teams, some to do with Arsenal's maintenance at the top, of Man Utd's chase close by, Chelsea not so much yet a good chunk is dedicated to speculation regarding Rafael Benitez' position following results that some perceive as not desirable by the LFC board. The constant 'will he, won't he' further followed by rival fans shouting 'yes, he will' while the LFC fans clearly shout 'No, he won't'. This is all fire to the fuel provided by the media in their constant avarice for headlines made to catch the eye of all in the country.

Another who has been written about constantly from the Premier League was Sam Allardyce. Big news for him to leave a Bolton Wanderers club that fought off relegation time and again and then emerged into UEFA contenders who pitted themselves well against the top three of Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool, to join up somewhat controversially with Newcastle United. big things predicted, mostly by the media, some by the NUFC fans, and as I type Newcastle have lost nine, drawn five and won seven in the league, sitting in 11th position.

It doesn't make for fantastic or comfortable reading but it's better than heading in the other direction. Except for Allardyce it headed him in the out direction this evening as he mutually agreed with the club to leave. The pressure on him was made all the more by the constant media bombardment on the team's progress under him and having joined in May last year, lasting almost eight months, Allardyce clearly did not have a full season at least to acclimatise to St James' Park. As eager as we all are for progress and evidence of good teamwork and training emitting from our players, sometimes we have to be patient.

The Newcastle fans jumped at Allardyce from an early stage, though he managed five wins, three losts and two defeats in his first ten league games. The following eleven brought bad news; six losses, two wins, three draws. As I said it isn't pretty reading but in his first twenty-on games, his first months at the club, he could do better but didn't get the backing, the patience and therefore the time to do so. We know Allardyce is a good motivator, he deserved more time with Newcastle. Former manager Sir Bobby Robson blames the current climate of success in the Premier League for developing pressure for clubs to compete:

"That's the eighth Premier League manager we've lost this season already. The pressure is too much now in the Premier League. The dismissals of manager are coming fast and frequent and it's rather sad for the game in many respects."

It is down to the board whether they decide on listening to the media reports and rely on them for guidance or make their own mind up without any negative influence. I don't think that was the case with Allardyce, I find it astounding a manager can be dismissed so early into his season with a new club and it smacks to me that the board were not ambitious about Allardyce's qualities initially despite signing him up for three years. He brought in Mark Viduka from rivals Middlesbrough, Alan Smith, Joey Barton, held onto James Milner, Geremi, and I think can be criticised for not shoring up the defence despite bringing in Czech international David Rozehnal and having young England defender Stephen Taylor.

I am not convinced about Habib Beye and Claudio Cacapa. In having Viduka, Obafemi Martins, Michael Owen, Shola Ameobi to come, along with the likes of wingers in Damien Duff, Milner, Charles N'Zogbia and a central midfield with Nicky Butt (my choice as captain), Emre and Barton, Newcastle were becoming for me a very firm attacking side let down by a shackled defence. Shay Given is well established as their no.1 in goal, much less as a good keeper in the league. Allardyce needed more time than he had to make any progress and sadly the media pinata was severely pummelled into submission out of the North East of England.

Allardyce said he wanted silverware why he left Bolton and he will not give up on management until he does achieve at least one cup victory. Where will he go next?



Anonymous Jayden said...

"it smacks to me that the board were not ambitious about Allardyce's qualities initially despite signing him up for three years."

1/09/2008 11:28 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...


Er, yeah. Ashley took over from Shepherd, not Sheppard, practically a month after Allardyce's signing. When he did, it was with the knowledge Allardyce would be manager and it is not only Shepherd who made the decision to sign Allardyce, it was a collective decision, ie the board was involved, the very same board that exists as I type. Because Shepherd has stepped down doesnt mean other board members have as well.

Besides, that is irrelevant. You want to be pedantic, the point was NUFC made the appointment and now the man has left after eight months. It matters not who was or is chairman at the time or another time, there was no confidence in the man for him to remain for such a little time.


1/10/2008 8:17 am

Blogger Abdul said...

Nice read as ever Redsman.

I cant really understand this decision. You cant turn around a club in 24 games - Ashley cannot possibly have expected Alladyce to do this in that time frame. This decision can only really be explained by a clash of personalities.

What I am sure of is that Alladyce will be back in the Premiership before too long. His hunger for the challenge of management is very strong.

1/10/2008 8:52 am

Blogger T said...

What is the point of dismissing him now? They are not chasing Europe and are not going to be relegated so why not give Allardyce a full season to show his capabilities as a fair club should.

Redsman, your description of the role of the media is excellent.

1/10/2008 10:06 am

Anonymous WAFC said...

I can understand the Magpies, what is it eight managers in 11 years, something like that? What have they done to think they deserve instant success or is that how the new chairman sees things? Remember Arsey Ashley ratted out the sports clubs when they tried to regulate the price of football shirts and Whelan didnt like him after that. If we didnt have Brucie doing us a great job Sam could come to Wigan any time. Sod the Magpies, they deserve nothing, the wannabe champions league use to bes'.

1/10/2008 2:55 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

I never rated Sam as a decent manger. He overachieved at Bolton with his limited tactics.

That said, we now live in the results business, whether it is media lead or not, there is no getting away from the fact that if you don’t meet the expectations of a club you end up jobless.

Sam should have at least got a season.

1/10/2008 11:29 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like no one gives a shit as Sam left Bolton to fend for themselves - good enough for England only cos he is English, sounds like desperation the kind that got McClown in from the fa.thanks to ashley newcastle dont know if theyre coming or going might as well put benitez there since he's going next he dont know if hes coming or going either great match!

1/11/2008 7:55 am

Blogger T said...

Just to pick up on what the Skipper said - I feel one good thing to come our of this episode is that it showed up Allardyce's primitive on-field tactics and Newcastle fans had a right to protest against what they saw as an ugly game that was not getting results.

However, for the reasons I said in my earlier comment the board should still have given him a season.

1/11/2008 10:13 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Owing to Anon's droll comment (7.55PM), there could be a point in the approach to football with another club. People say Benitez should change his approach to the league in order to thoroughly challenge for it, drop the rotation, play your best side every match, etc, etc. Did Allardyce change his approach to Newcastle or kept it as it was with Bolton?

T called it 'primitive on-field tactics', I think he made a number of lame signings in Beye and Cacapa, as I mentioned in the article but those of Viduka, Barton and Rozehnal were decent ones (Barton football wise).

A better Newcastle side had a firm defence and utilised the wings mainly when you consider the likes of Ginola, Waddle, Beardsley, Solano through to Milner and N'Zogbia, with a regular front two from Ferdinand and Shearer to Viduka and Martins. Owen has failed to register enough league games to make anything of an influence for the better.

A replacement - Glenn Hoddle, Steve McClaren, so much talk about Shearer, and right now Harry Redknapp is due to hold a conference, presumably to deny any link with the vacancy.


1/11/2008 11:05 am

Blogger SKG said...

i think there is a curse on nufc. i cannot believe they have sacked another manager.

bring back keegan!

1/11/2008 5:57 pm

Anonymous alex butterfield said...

redsman, I think you are missing the point about the ownership of the club.

Ultimately, hiring and firingis done by the chairman/owner. Previously shepherd had signed allardyce but then sold up to ashley.

To understand this situation you have to put yourself in mike Ashley's shoes: he bought his club, a lifelong ambition no doubt, in a state he didn't care for. They had an overrated manager, had spent crazy money on a poor team (17m on Owen!, 5.5m on Barton!), let's face it they have Given, Milner, and some inconsistent (if good on their day) strikers, and they haven't won a trophy in Ashley's lifetime.

What would you do, when someone else's hire was making your team play terrible football, making bad signings (only Rozenhal is value for money), and having his team turn against him? I'd cut my losses. Get a fresh start.

Granted, a team needs stability, but there's such a thing as bad stability, it has other names, stubborness, clinging to straws.

If Ashley gets his man, and I think he wants Redknapp, then I'm sure he'll show patience then. But there is no doubt in my mind that allardyce didn't have what was needed to make NUFC the team Ashley wishes it was.

They need a clear out and they need to attract some quality players, 10 or so, and redknapp is the man for that job.

All these nay-sayers claiming its impossible to turn NUFC successful are wrong, it takes time of course but redknapp has turned Pompey around in 2years, moyes has salvaged everton in 3 or 4.

Patience is hard but it is harder still to find the right coach in the first place

1/11/2008 11:14 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

No, I am fully aware of the transfer of ownership of the club from Shepherd to Ashley, I know Allardyce was signed by Shepherd a month before Ashley took over. My point was Ashley had knowledge of Allardyce's appointment and eight months down the line he dismisses the man when at the very least Allardyce should have had a full season (at the end of which I would still consider giving him more time, depending on where the club's position in the league is).

Ashley couldn't have had confidence in Allardyce from the beginning of his (Ashley's) reign. This is the man who was one of those touted for the England manager vacancy after turning Bolton into a UEFA Cup participant from relegation candidates on a seasonal basis. Newcastle have not gotten to the best of starts expected but they are not near relegation and Allardyce should have had the remainder of this season to better their position.


1/12/2008 10:07 am

Anonymous alex butterfield said...

I don't want to keep disagreeing with you RedsMan, but I think the point of this situation is that, as you say:

"Ashley couldn't have had confidence in Allardyce from the beginning"

Of course Ashley knew Allardyce was in charge when he bought the club, but faith in Allardyce wasn't a requirement when he did so.

So what if he knew that SA was manager? That doesn't mean Ashley cant make the changes he wants to.

I don't know where this magic number of 1 full season comes from. Okay, of course, I can see that it's easiest to judge footballing success over a season, but it is not impossible to judge success on one game.

I believe Allardyce was given half a season to change Ashley's mind - and the fact that he was fired even though Newcastle were in a safe position only confirms this - Ashley doesn't want 'safety', he wants success, if he measures that in trophies, he might have a wait on his hands, but if he measures that in attractive football and a challenge for European places, then he was right to get shot of SA.

The simple fact of the timing is brought on by the transfer window. If Ashley has decided he's had enough of SA, he knows the season is safe. He could either get rid of him in January, or wait till the summer. If he's made his mind up, what's the point in waiting? And as a bonus, if he gets the new manager in during the transfer window then he has the bonus of being able to sign players.

This decision by Ashley is really showing his cards.

He wants attractive football, he wants to challenge for europe, he wants better players at his club, and he has never had faith in Allardyce (he was just begrudgingly giving him a chance)

And I can't blame him: Allardyce is so overrated - Bolton never played attractive football under him. It says a lot when your best performance is against top of the league, and all you do all game is snap at their heels and draw at home.

However, I completely agree with your view on the media and the press. I just saw Liverpool draw on Setanta, and the analysis was so sensational. The guy effectively said had Liverpool lost to Boro, then Rafa should have been sacked - i this the same Boro that beat Arsenal? Also all of a sudden Liverpool are out of the title race, when they didnt even drop ground on Arsenal, who also drew.

It frustrates me so much that the media spend most of their time discussing the jobs of managers, instead of analysing games and tactics. This setanta pundit made some comments about Gerrard that were spot on, but instead of analysing further why Liverpool played so poorly, he started speculating about Rafa's job.

1/12/2008 5:58 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

You can disagree as you wish, Alex, I think eight months in charge of a team is not enough for a manager to at least show any sign of establishment. Allardyce could have gone on to raise Newcastle, if not in the remaining onths of the season then even next season. If Ashley decides to dismiss or constructively force managers out of St James' Park so early, how does he expect them to settle and gel with players to get the performances needed? I dont particularly rate Allardyce but as I said he raised Bolton from bottom to the heights of 5th-7th places. Personally I feel Allardyce had gotten a bit too big for his boots, particularly when he criticised Benitez and then got stung for it but overall I appeal to his leaving Newcastle not for Allardyce but for any manager so early into their position at a club.

As for the media, nuff said. I'll digress but now they will be looking to play their part in removing Benitez and today's result adds more fuel to the fire. It's a fight at the moment to get LFC moving in the right direction again more consistently, more strongly because we are lacking our bite that we had earlier in the season. We have good players but not players who can at a turn score goals and change games for us to the better.

With financial backing to get the players we need, not to be overpriced, some players will have to leave with others coming in of consistent known pedigree. There is an approach to each game that Benitez will need to align now to get the wins we crave, as we stand level with Everton, Man City and Villa.

For NUFC, with Allardyce gone and Redknapp turning down the chance to join them along with Mark Hughes, the manager that can probably move Newcastle is....Gianluca Vialli with Ray Wilkins his assistant! Vialli was offered the managerial place at QPR recently and turned it down. Wilkins appears to have good punidtry analysis. The likelihood of this happening is nil, Ashley may even go for a northern man.


1/12/2008 6:12 pm

Anonymous alex butterfield said...

You wrote:

"If Ashley decides to dismiss or constructively force managers out of St James' Park so early, how does he expect them to settle and gel with players to get the performances needed?"

Ashley didn't expect Allardyce to settle and gel with players! That's the point. No matter how much time he was given, and as such there was no point in him keeping him on.

I'd love to talk about Liverpool, but I'm off to the movies.

1/13/2008 2:59 am

Blogger T said...

Good discussion Alex and Redsman.

Now that Allardyce has gone and Redknapp has said no who is going to take over? Mark Hughes is touted but taking the path to Blackburn has already been tried once - with Souness - and having just dismissed a whose team finished ahead of Blackburn last season it seems odd that Hughes has apparently become the chosen one.

Martin Jol has two fifth placed finishes to his name, played attacking football, and is not currently employed. For me he is the more obvious choice.

1/14/2008 4:24 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Newcastle need to appoint a manager soon to settle the players. Saturday's drubbing at OT was a sign of a team firing for 45mins and then having nothing for it in the following three quarters of an hour. Not only did they need a manager but a leader from the sidelines and Nigel Pearson is a stop gap.


1/14/2008 5:34 pm

Blogger alex butterfield said...

Nigel Pearson isn't even much of a stop gap. Newcastle were leaking goals all over the place.

To be fair to the players, Man Utd were on fire, but that's hardly an excuse for a premiership side - and certainly not for one who claim to as big as they do.

I totally agree that Newcastle need a manager as soon as possible. Having said everything I've said in support of Ashley, I think maybe he jumped the gun a little in one sense. He thought he could get Redknapp, and he was wrong.

Martin Jol sounds like a reasonable choice, although I'm not sure that he'd be a popular choice (although I really like him as a man, he's funny on Match of the Day anyway), I don't think his terrible start to this season with Spurs has been forgotten yet, and Newcastle fans will probably feel a sense of 'here we gan again'.

Having said that, maybe they would welcome back Keegan, although a man who quit England citing his lack of coaching ability as the reason might be looked on as just a stepping stone. But that is what Newcastle need, someone to win them a trophy or two - not the league, but get them into Europe and make them play fashionable football, get the fans behind them and get back on track with building their reputation.

The problem is, Keegan won't win the league or the Champions league, so this idea of having a coach for ten years or more and building a legacy and everything has to wait. I think Newcastle need a five year plan and they need to appoint someone they can trust to build a side with established talent and a reserve side with potential.

Maybe Keegan can do the first part of that. Maybe they need to invest in some good scouts too.

Shearer on the other hand is just a shot int he dark.

It's a difficult time to be looking for managers.

On the subject of Liverpool, while I'm talking about managers, I read that Mourinho wants to take over. If the press get their way and Benitez leaves, I'd welcome Jose.

But it's an awkward situation, as Rijkaard looks to be in a bit of trouble at Barca, and perhaps Mourinho is hoping to take that job in the summer.

If he's any sense, he'll wait it out and see if he can't auction himself to the highest bidder if and when both jobs become available.

I'd be happy for Benitez to stay though. Despite all the negative press, I think he's an excellent coach and he's proved it by knocking out superior teams in 2 champions league campaigns. As far as the league title goes: we simply haven't had the funding we need to challenge properly.

1/14/2008 9:23 pm

Blogger T said...

Alex, I would dislike Mourinho coming back to the Premier League. He bought spite and cheap entertainment that the media lapped up but turned me off - although I admit compelling on occasion. Jamie Redknapp - a guy whose analysis is really questionable on many occasions - loved to call him 'a breath of fresh air' which was so inaccurate it was laughable!

Personally I think Mourinho is a very good coach - but also I think he came and left at the right time (yet to hear anyone come up with this point). He picked up the reigns at Chelsea just as Ranieri's well built squad were reaching their peak and Arsenal and Man Utd's were ending theirs/right at a start of a new cycle - and he left at a time when I think Chelsea are coming towards the end of a cycle and Man Utd and Arsenal next generation squads are going to be peaking (Man Utd's being a season ahead or so of Arsenal).

Would his arrongance/petulance would be appreciated by Liverpool supporters?

1/15/2008 10:07 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

I agree both with Alex's last paragraph and T's comment above. I too think about Rafa in the same way why I have the belief he can change the club into a more formidable one pushing for trophies. There is something which is proving to be the proverbial spanner in the works at themoment and for me Mr Hicks is not making the issue any easier with pretentious comments of his own. Maybe he feels that as co-owner he can say what pleases him but he is using the publicity to drag Rafa about the media when he should be ceratinly using his office as the location for discussions, or indeed the telephone line. Someone somewhere in LFC has to put their foot down and put this silly to-ing and fro-ing in its proper place. It's ridiculous.

As for Mourinho, no. Never. For the reasons that T stated and because his persona is not what LFC need at all. Yes, he brought Chelsea their first titles since 50years ago, but he has spoken out against LFC in such a way that he will never be an option. If Rafa is not the man, we can find and install someone as ambitious and gifted as Mourinho, if not better.


1/15/2008 10:28 am


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