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?