Sam Allardyce has explained why he is “not a fan of the way the Premier League’s going”.
Allardyce has managed the most teams of anyone in Premier League history, from his first post at Bolton to his most recent at Everton.
But the 64-year-old has grown resentful of a competition that has become “a little bit too slow”, with not enough shots on target, in part due to foreign coaches.
For those of you playing Allardyce bingo, there’s half your card filled.
“I’m not a fan of the way the Premier League’s going at all,” he told beIN SPORTS of the industry that has given him the platform first to manage, and now to criticise from afar.
“I’m losing the excitement that used to be there week in and week out. For nearly 80-90% of games you’d get the odd one, but I’m finding that the amount of play that’s going on in midfield is slowing the game down far too much for me, and we’re losing the cut and thrust qualities that we had as a Premier League.
“We had it in the last game (Arsenal’s win over Manchester United). You look at the last game: it went end to end very quickly, lots of chances, but all the other games this weekend have just been a little bit too slow in the build-up and a little bit – in terms of chances created and shots on target, it’s been pretty low. I think that that’s a little concern for us in the Premier League.”
A reminder that 847 goals have been scored across 299 games so far this season. That is an average of 2.83 goals per game, which is currently quite literally the highest-scoring season in Premier League history over the current record holder of the 2011/12 season (2.81).
F***ing hell, Sam.
Then in chimes Richard Keys. Because he is Richard Keys.
“Do you think it’s the case that that cut and thrust you talk about is what attracted all these foreign coaches and yet they’ve turned our game into the one we used to watch in Italy?”
“Erm…yes,” Allardyce replied. “Some of it.
“It has to be some of it, because we are sucked into the fact that they all do better than we do, and they bring their kids up better than we do, and they all play football better than we do. Everybody goes on about it, that more must have to change to what they do. I think that too many of us now are, ‘you’ve got to put your centre-halves on both sides of the 18-bard box…”
He said it, not us.
“‘You’ve got to play out no matter what,’ and, realistically, most goals have come – not just now but in most of the Premier League – by you making mistakes and giving the ball away in your own half, not by the good play. We’ve seen a lot of people trying to play that way all the time and make a mistake, and the opposition score against them. That, for me, is very dangerous if you haven’t got players that are comfortable doing it.
“That’s what you have to realise. When you’re at this level you’re responsible for a huge amount of what that football club has to be or do. And for a lot of us it’s about staying in the Premier League – not all of us, but a lot of us it is.
“When we stay in that Premier League we look after everybody else, including ourselves. Not just the people in the club or the players or your staff, but everbody else that works around it. You come out of that league and 50% of that club is cut away, all the jobs, all the players and everything else. That’s your responsibility.
“So you play to get results, you play to win, and you can entertain as well. That’s fabulous.”