Play it again, Sam
Mediawatch was amused by the headline in The Sun on Alan Shearer’s column: ‘We have no world class stars…but Sam can get ’em roaring.’
Amused firstly because we remember reading Alan Shearer ‘writing’ in May that Joe Hart is world-class. Something happen to change your mind, Alan?
And then amused because Sam Allardyce did not merit a mention in Shearer’s column on his choice for England manager less than two weeks ago.
In that column he made a strong case for (his friend) Steve Bruce but also said:
‘If they go for Eddie Howe, that would be fine as well. I wouldn’t have an issue with that.’
Now Allardyce has been pretty much confirmed as England manager, Shearer says:
‘When it came down to it, there were probably only two viable candidates – and that was Sam or Steve Bruce.’
We told you it was ‘utterly misplaced righteous anger’
‘Why can’t we have an English guy to manage England? It’s not like we have a long list of amazing foreign candidates who are available. It’s not like taking that path has worked before.
‘So we wasted a fortune on these guys. Have we not learnt our lesson? The FA have been canvassing the opinion of former England players, including myself…But the call was about ticking a box. They wanted to be seen to be doing the right thing to appease those of us in the media and the press.
‘Because I don’t get the impression anything I said was being taken on board.
‘What is the point in speaking to us if they still might go down the foreign route? It doesn’t make sense.’
Something sure didn’t make sense, Alan.
We know we should probably leave Alan Shearer’s column right there but since when has Mediawatch known when to walk away from utter sh*t without first walking it all over the house?
‘There has always been criticism of Sam’s style of play. But the way I see it, football is about winning and he plays to win – however it needs to be done.’
Which would be fine if we were talking about Jose Mourinho (who wins a lot of games) and not Sam Allardyce (who really doesn’t).
A quick run-down of the win percentages of a manager who ‘plays to win – however it needs to be done’:
Notts County: 38.6%
West Ham: 37.6%
It strikes Mediawatch that ‘playing to win’ is not exactly the same as actually winning. And for anybody who wants to cite the calibre of the clubs managed by Allardyce in mitigation, we will point you towards the relevant numbers in Roy Hodgson’s history:
West Brom: 37%
Mediawatch is looking forward to a vast improvement. Obviously we will put up with the sh*t football if we get to win every third game.
‘When I played for Newcastle against Allardyce’s Bolton, you knew that to get something out of the game, you would really have to earn it.’
Like when your Newcastle side won 4-0 in 2001? Or when you won 3-1 in 2006? Shearer himself scored six goals in ten games against Allardyce’s Bolton so it obviously wasn’t that bloody hard.
This next nugget is particularly infuriating, and Shearer is not alone in this utterly baseless opinion delivered as fact:
‘There is no way England would have lost to Iceland at the Euros is Sam was in charge.’
A short list of clubs who beat West Ham in cup competitions during his four years in charge: Sheffield Wednesday, Aldershot Town, Wigan (4-1), Nottingham Forest (5-0), Sheffield United and West Brom (4-0).
You’re right, of course; an Allardyce side would never lose to Iceland.
Straw man argument of the day
‘THERE’S a lot of snobbery in our game now. There will be plenty of people looking down their nose thinking how can a working-class centre-half, a boy from a council house with a Dudley accent make it good as England manager?’ – Peter Reid, the Daily Mail.
Yes, it’s definitely the accent that’s the issue.
Ask a simple question
‘Look at Sven Goran Eriksson, look at Fabio Capello, terrific CVs but what success did they bring to England?’ – Peter Reid.
Well, Eriksson is the only England manager to lead us to three successive quarter-finals at major tournaments, and Capello has the highest win percentage of any England manager in history.
Odd how Reid didn’t mention the fella who came between those managers. Why could that be?
Big Sam’s Barmy Army
Clear that some people in the media never saw Bolton at their best with players like Djorkaeff and Okocha
— Neil Custis (@ncustisTheSun) July 22, 2016
To clarify, those players are not English.
Why Sam really got the job
Steve Harper in The Sun: “He can give and take the banter.”
Surely a manager for our times.
Big Sam’s briefs
There’s some lovely glossing over of Allardyce’s record from Michael Walker of the Daily Mail, who claims that he ‘remoulded Sunderland, coaxing three wins and seven draws from their last 11 matches’. Oddly no mention of the five straight defeats in December before Allardyce spent over £15m on bringing in several new players in January. You can see above for a Sunderland win percentage that, according to Walker, should have ‘changed perceptions’ about his beloved Big Sam.
He also writes dismissively that Allardyce’s problems at Newcastle were because ‘the club was sold after three weeks to Mike Ashley and Allardyce lasted seven months’. And not because his deathly dull Newcastle side had just lost three straight league games punctuated by a 0-0 draw with Championship Stoke in the FA Cup? Oh no.
But it’s in summarising Allardyce’s reign at West Ham where Walker really uses artistic licence:
‘At West Ham there was a similar story (to Blackburn): relegated under Avram Grant, the brief was to get West Ham back up. Allardyce did so.’
And that’s it: Allardyce’s four years at West Ham summed up in one paragraph. What the hell were Hammers fans complaining about? The eye-bleeding football? The £11m spent on Matt Jarvis? The embarrassing cup exits? The relegation form at the end of his last two seasons in charge? As Allardyce himself said, West Ham fans are clearly ‘deluded’. You went up; what more do you want from four years and a net spend of almost £70m?
Ings can only get more interesting
‘For the duration of the Reds’ tour of the USA, Danny Ings will be writing an exclusive blog for Liverpoolfc.com…’
After reading the first instalment, Mediawatch can certainly see why Ings was chosen for this task; ‘compelling’ does not begin to cover it.
It is a work of majesty. These choice cuts really must be applauded while standing:
‘After a good workout at Huddersfield, we left Liverpool airport at around 3.30am for San Jose and the flight was comfortable and passed over quickly.
‘That said, I was sat next to James Milner on the plane and after about an hour of me dropping off to sleep, I woke up with what I initially thought was a torch being shined in my face. In fact, Millie had decided to turn the reading light on my seat right towards my face – although he denies it was deliberately to wake me up…’
‘After training, this afternoon we made a visit to Alcatraz as a squad, which was a great experience for both me personally and us as a group.
‘To be honest, I’ve never really been to any tourist places with history like that before, so it was good to go and have a look. The rest of the lads enjoyed it as well and it was really interesting to read and learn about its history.’
‘Tourist places with history’. Just drink that in.
‘Things like we did today, going to Alcatraz and having a walk around together, means people can get to know each other’s personalities a bit better, find out who can speak which languages and find out who has got banter and who hasn’t.
‘To be fair, the majority of the new boys have got banter.’
Personalities can be broadly split into two groups: Those who have banter and those who do not.
‘Where have Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s tattoos all gone? We explore…’ reads the headline on the Mirror Football website.
And by ‘explore’, they mean Google this Ibrahimovic quote from February 2015:
“When I took my shirt off against Caen, everybody asked what these new tattoos were. I had 15 removable tattoos on my body, they are the names of real people who are suffering from hunger in the world. [While] those tattoos have gone now, these people are still here…I hope that you can see them through me.”
So they wore off 17 months ago? That’s some tardy exploration.
Football’s biggest story
At 12pm on Friday according to MailOnline:
‘Klopp-down! Liverpool stars are locked away during trip to Alcatraz as squad enjoy downtime during US pre-season tour.’
Yes, the biggest story on Friday lunchtime is that the Liverpool squad visited a tourist place with history on Thursday.
These are truly wonderful times to be alive.