Mails: Can Sam turn England into Portugal?

Date published: Wednesday 13th July 2016 1:37

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Allardyce is the Brexiteers’ choice
I can’t help but think that the people touting Sam Allardyce for the England job are vouching for it in much the same way as many people were calling for Brexit. They’re just doing it to stick two fingers up at the foreigns, without thinking that it might actually happen and that they’ll have to deal with the inevitable sh*tshow that even they know will follow.
Alistair Gilmour


Allardyce: The manager you deserve
When your xenophobic media hounds out every foreign manager from the start and every manager eventually (even their media mates). When the players are clearly terrified of being labelled the scapegoat for not winning the tournament that they get collective stage-fright the second they face a challenge. When the fans always seem on the edge of booing anyway. When your sense of superiority is based on one tournament success on home soil 50 years ago. When you value vague concepts like ‘pashun’ over mindset, tactics and actual footballing ability. When your talented goalkeeper is so acutely aware of all this that he is more focused on looking ‘up for it’ than actually stopping the ball going into the net.

When you’re no longer fit for purpose captain and star player is shoe-horned in the to team at the expense of the team, because trying to get people to see sense through the backlash is just not worth it. When the media praises his simple play and ignores how bloody awful he is to ensure that the backlash will always be there. When you consistently pick a collection of players (again, fan/media backlash plays a part here) rather than selecting the right players to make the team greater than the sum of its parts. When you boo a 21-year-old player for the crime of being ambitious and the valuation that somebody else placed on him. When the cycle of building up the players just so you can knock them down refreshes and repeats. When nobody wants to take an objective view of the problem to try and actually solve it for the first time in 50 years. This all leads to Sam Allardyce being the manager you deserve. Enjoy it.
Kev (turgid, turgid footballing is on the way)


Please Sir…
So Mailbox, Big Sam Allardyce has been interviewed by David Gill for the England job, on the recommendation of the great Sir Alex Ferguson? Can anyone remind me of the last time David Gill made a major appointment, on the advice and recommendation of his mate, Sir Alex..? Who could possibly forget what was quite possibly the most utterly woeful managerial appointment in footballing history? David Moyes, anyone? Dearie me.

Don’t get me wrong, as a proud Scot, I think this is brilliant. After the Iceland humiliation, it seems the unending comedy show that is the England football team shows no sign of ending. The appointment of Big Sam, in an England context, is on a par with the appointment of Schteve – it’s just more McClarenesque genius! Sadly, I must say, I think the Ferguson recommendation of Big Sam is just further indication that he is losing his marbles (old ages comes to us all). However, I like to tell myself that this is simply the great man trolling all of England on behalf of his native Scotland. If so, then it is truly wonderful stuff.
Iain Grant, Aberdeen


Are England now fighting relegation?
England appointing Samuel Allardyce is the national team waking up with a brutal hangover, looking in the mirror at its flabby, ageing body, sighing, then deciding to settle for that unattractive girl who used to have a moustache who’s been after it since 2000.

Gone are the days of exotic foreign managers, of league winning and title-challenging managers, of looking at how the tournament draw might pan out if we beat Argentina and top the group. Gone are the days of hope. We finish below Wales and lose to Iceland now. This is our reality. We may as well get the guy who battles relegation, so we can consolidate our position in the top 20 of the FIFA rankings.

In truth, we haven’t had a decent ‘unlucky’ tournament performance since 2004. That’s 12 years ago.

Jae, Tunbridge Wells


What bout our England DNA?
So The FA have spent a lot of time and no doubt money on a new winning image, formula, coaching standards etc etc for the future of English football and call it England DNA.

As an aspiring coach we are fed this constantly in one way or another and are being raised as future coaches and managers to form a new and exciting, forward thinking English game and English players.

Have a read here.

So are the FA really gonna appoint Sam Allardyce as England manager? Or Steve Bruce? Or anyone like this old school, stuck in the past, incapable, trophyless, defensive, negative, painful, relegation fighting Dinosaur?

Are you actually kidding me?

If The FA genuinely care about the English game, then everything in their ‘DNA’ will guide them into hiring an Eddie Howe. Young, Dynamic, Forward thinking and has already developed a way of playing and system we can all get on board with. Plus he is still learning and developing with having the perfect ‘look’ The FA would love to have. If ever you wanted a poster boy with the right DNA.

It aint Fat Sam or Beer Belly Bruce now is it? Never mind their clear lack of ability.

This whole England situation is becoming a dangerous laughing stock.

Have a look at the HOW WE PLAY section of the England DNA. Then imagine Sam Allardyce’s smug face next to it.
ToonBano (I’ll be England boss one day. Honest)


Appointing Allardyce is a no-lose situation
Before I start, I would like to make ony thing clear: I am not a Sam Allardyce fan. I don’t really care for either him or his teams. That being said, and picking up from Michael, Basel’s mail this morning, which I think was tongue in cheek; I think Sam Allardyce should be the next England manager.

As much as I don’t like him, even his most vocal critic would have to admit that he does have an irritating habit of achieving (relative) success. Other than Newcastle, he’s managed to at least bring stability to most of the clubs he’s managed in the top flight. Yes, the football can be eye-bleedingly bad at times, but if you’re only looking at context then you’d have to say that what he does gets results. He isn’t really one for taking teams to the elite levels of some of his peers; you couldn’t really see him ever getting one of his teams to play like Barcelona, even if he had the same players at his disposal, but then again, not many managers these days can do that.

He is a very limited manager; you’re never going to see any revolutionary new style of football, or a move towards a current popular trend of playing football. He has his core set of tactics and he will invariably stick to them for the vast majority of games. He, like all PFMs, classes himself as being a very good man-manager, with a proven track record of getting the best out of both undervalued journeymen and almost over-the-hill players. He’s not an innovator of football, but he knows how to build a team and get it to follow his instructions.

So, with the above points in mind, he is the only man for the England job right now. He has the ego to believe that he deserves the job, so I don’t think he would be overawed by the challenge. He is English, which is what the pundits and media seem to be calling for. He’s on good terms with most journalists, so you can imagine he’d get something of an easier ride, meaning there might be less undermining of him and the team, compared to, say, England under Capello or Eriksson. There are plenty of players available to England that you’d have to say are right up Allardyce’s street, and it’s not like there’s any reasonable expectation of beautiful football at this point.

What’s the worst that could happen? We don’t qualify for the World Cup – that doesn’t actually make us any less likely to win it, based on recent history; it would even save us the bother of foolishly getting our hopes up. If we didn’t, it would be another nail in the PFM coffin and, maybe, push the FA into effecting real change in the infrastructure of English football. Or, we do qualify and end up performing exactly like England usually do in tournaments – so about par for the course really and we’re no worse off.

Alternatively, he could end up putting together a team that – although the football is grim – achieves something half-decent, maybe a semi-final or something. Look at Portugal at the Euros; they didn’t exactly play wonderful football – they only won one game in 90 minutes, after all – but they are the ones who go home with the trophy. Is there any England fan that wouldn’t snatch your hands off for the same? If it was our name on the trophy, I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass how it ended up there.

I feel dirty for even suggesting it, but it does seem like a no-lose situation to me. Either he fails and damages the overall reputation his PFM colleagues by association, or he does alright and we’re no worse off than we are now. There’s absolutely no point in hiring a progressive manager who requires a better class of player to implement their style; we simply don’t have the playing personnel in this country to do that. Let’s just accept our current standing in the game, disabuse ourselves of the notion that we are a great footballing nation, and accept that we’re going to need a limited manager to get the best out of our limited players – at least until the greater problems are solved. Only once we’ve started regularly producing better footballers through our system, only then we can start looking at a better calibre of manager.
Ted, Manchester


…I must admit in previous years Allardyce as England manager hardly enthused me. In fact it doesn’t much now either, but now I care much less about it. When I started to think about it a bit more, I thought could it be much worse.

I know McClaren managed not to qualify but in general we should qualify relatively easy for tournaments. Winning 10 didn’t exactly mean much, when we got to the Euros at the end of the day and in some ways I think it fit into the F365 piece about our players being dim on and off the pitch. We qualified with ease and the players coasted through. They went through the motions and were never under any pressure. When it got to the real stuff we were lost.

Assuming we appoint Allardyce and we qualify for the Word Cup, let’s face it we need to get the results in 6,7,8 games that actually matter. If that means doing a Portugal (and they have one of the best players ever in their team) who cares? Big Sam would be more organised for sure and I would hope someone of Allardyce’s ilk would not try to shoehorn x player(s) into the team and instead pick players to fit into his system.

Would it be exciting of fancy under Sam? Probably not and if it meant Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan or Jermain Defoe who cares if we did what was needed to get through those 6, 7, 8 important summer games.

Of course it could be a disaster, but we might as well try it and if it did go tits up, would be interesting to see how The Sun slaughter him.
Simon (it’s a bracket thing) Bristol
How much is that Poggy in the window?
Lots of guff written about Paul Pogba and how the final showed how he wasn’t worth £100m. Maybe he wasn’t great in the final but I’m more inclined to blame the Water Carrier’s conservatism. Pogba’s form for Juventus is the reason that United or any club in the world would want him in their team over almost any other player.

United in particular have been crying out for a player like Pogba since the days of Roy Keane. Only the combo of Anderson and Hargreaves has come close for a single season in 2008. Countless midfielders have failed to match the mobility and tenacity of midfielders like Keane, Robson, Ince and even Nicky Butt. Darren Fletcher was a poor man’s version and Carrick is a far less mobile player, terrific servant to the club though he has been. Luckily Paul Scholes was immense and managed to control games without that need for a fast, tough midfielder to play with him.

So United need Pogba. Juventus need Pogba. Every other club in the world wants Pogba. To get Pogba then you have to be willing to pay a price in excess of the a) Juventus’ evaluation and b) the price other clubs are willing to pay. This price appears to be in the region of £100m. Pogba is therefore worth that of United want him that badly.

They could choose Matuidi but they’d be getting an inferior player who is 29. He’d need to be replaced in three years and would cost £30m (ish, I have no idea). If they did that every three years it would cost £90M over the same time frame that Pogba could be up the club, not accounting for future inflation. Similar arguments could be said for other players – Dembele, Kante, Sissoko. All older, inferior players – and different types of players to Pogba.

If you include wages and agents fees then you could argue that the costs again start to become ridiculous. But again this is the cost of buying a player of Pogba’s age, quality and availability. Particularly when you are a club playing in the Europa League and he is at a club contending for the Champions League.

United shouldn’t have let him go and it’s a costly mistake to rectify. But can they afford not to? Ultimately if they need Pogba (they do) and Juventus don’t want to sell (they might not) and everyone else would like him in their team (certainly) and United are willing to pay the price, it is the right price.
Ashley (Sissoko? You’re having a laugh) Metcalfe


Man United need a worldwide star
There’s been a fair amount of eyebrows raised in the Mailbox about the fee being quoted for Pogba, but I think a lot of people are missing the point of what Manchester United are these days. Obviously, Pogba is an excellent player, young and plays in a position that we desperately need to strengthen. This is does not make him a £100m player. However, what does make him so valuable is his marketing potential. United now exist as a superclub, alongside the likes of Real, Barcelona, Bayern and co., and get paid fortunes by other companies to have their household names hawk products to their customers. In order for this to work, the club needs one or two players that exist in a different stratosphere, people that are recognised from Sacramento to Shanghai. For the last few seasons, United have had one player that fits this mould; Wayne Rooney. If we’re endorsing a big product, you can guarantee Wayne’s face will be the first you see. Sure, we’ve added Zlatan who fits this bill, but the guy is 34.

The suits will have noticed the decline in Rooney, and will be well aware that we’re going to need to replace our face of marketing going forward; I’m sure this is one of the reasons behind the repeated failed moves for the likes of Neymar, Bale, Ronaldo etc. Pogba is already a huge name in international football and I imagine is being groomed by the PR-Marketing sh*tehawks as being one of the players to take up the mantle with Bale and Neymar when time’s withered claw eventually catches up with Messi and Ronaldo. That’s why we’re willing to break the bank for him, and yes, seeing my club become this is not particularly pleasant, but that’s just the way football has gone. On the plus side, if he does sign, based on my logic it’ll ease Rooney out of the door quicker.
Lewis, Busby Way


The shirt sales fallacy
One statement that has been bandied about since time immemorial (well the late 90s early 00s) and has now been accepted as a universal truth; is that of recouping the cost of New Player’inho through shirt sales (and other merchandising). I think the fundamental flaw in this argument is that it presupposes that most fans would buy extra shirts (or merchandise) bearing name or image of said New Player’inho after their purchase (over the normal merchandise they would have otherwise purchased).

I think most football fans are economically rational (and/or economically thrifty), and would merely swap the purchase of merchandise of Old Player’son with that of New Player’inho when purchasing club merchandise. This leaves the club in largely the same position economically (assuming equal pricing of merchandise) post purchase of New Player’inho. As a way of example; I am an Arsenal fan, I am planning on buying an Arsenal replica shirt in the next couple of weeks. If Arsenal manage to sign this much fabled World-Class Striker’aldo, I am still going to buy just one replica shirt (maybe donning the name and number of this much fabled World-Class Striker’aldo). So Arsenal, are in a exact same economical position in terms of merchandise money from me.

Now, this statement (and what is now universal truth) would hold under one of two conditions. Firstly, perhaps my presupposition that the vast majority of fans are mostly economically rational (and/or economically thrifty) could be largely wrong. And secondly, and probably more relevant, if the purchase of New Player’inho opens up a whole new market of fans for the purchasing club. Then the club is selling merchandise that it wouldn’t have previously sold but for the purchase of New Player’inho. A classic example of this, is the purchase of David Beckham opening up Far East market for Real Madrid. The reality is, is this day and age, not many player purchases open up big new markets for purchasing clubs. So NO, I don’t think Pogba will pay himself off in shirt sales (his shirt sales will just being eating into the shirt sales on another United player).
KT Mokhele (T minus 31 Days ☺), Gooner in Johannesburg


Did Giroud really have a ‘great’ Euros?
I thought that Joe made a number of very good points in his mail this morning about Ozil and Giroud, but I do have to take issue with the assertion by many that Giroud had a great tournament. The nature of international tournaments means that it’s nearly impossible for someone to reel off six or seven excellent games in a row, and as such a player who has one or two very good performances can probably stand out as one of the stars of the tournament. It’s not just Giroud who has experienced this; Portugal’s victory now means that Ronaldo has had a great tournament when in reality he blew hot and cold.

Another thing about tournaments is that you have the luxury of being able to watch every game and consequently I was able to see all of the games in which Giroud played, and I’d argue that he only played well against Ireland and Iceland. He missed a host of chances against Romania and eventually scored after some bad keeping, but you can’t fault him for that and he was brave to go in for the header. He was subbed in the game against Albania when he didn’t look like coming close to scoring and was rested for the final group game against Switzerland. Giroud was then dire in the first half against Ireland (as was every other French player) before turning the game on its head in the second half. His assist for Griezmann was the result of a cataclysmic defensive error but the touch and pass to put him through for the red card was sublime. He then put in a masterclass against Iceland, with a brace and a dummy/slight flick (I still can’t tell if he touched it or not) to set up Griezmann once more. Then in the semis vs Germany, he didn’t impact the game in any meaningful way and was subbed off once more but it didn’t matter because the game was already won and they needed to rest him for the final.

Then the final came and once more, he didn’t get a kick other than one very presentable chance that he missed, and was once more subbed off. By my count, that makes two games in which he played well in and three in which he was subbed off after having no impact (you can be generous and include the Romania game in the good game tally should you wish). In a six-game spell, that’s not an awful ratio by any stretch but it does make me question the common acceptance that Giroud was some sort of striking behemoth and that Arsenal should seek to marginalise Ozil to encourage him. Really, what we saw is Giroud enjoying himself against the lesser able sides and not really doing anything against the more competent opposition, which is essentially a microcosm of his Arsenal career. I saw nothing in that tournament that made me view Giroud in a different light because he was essentially playing how he does week in week out at the Emirates, which is alright, but not great.
BL, AFC (Arsenal could never play two up front due to the midfielder deluge anyway)


Why is Sanchez out wide?
Joe, AFC discussed a tactical switch that I have thought about ever since he signed for Arsenal. Why is Sanchez playing out wide?

When Liverpool were linked with Sanchez I was immensely happy. I was very sad when he moved (for geographical reasons obviously) to Arsenal.

I was happy because I thought that he would be a great replacement for the outgoing Suarez. I imagined we would play him up top with Studge.

I was and continue to be shocked that he is played out wide for Arsenal. I know he did that role at Barca but they wanted to play Lionel as the central striker at that time and well you just can’t dislodge the best in the business. I thought Alexis would love to get into a team and be the main man playing up top.

I can see where Joe is coming from re: Ozil not complimenting Giroud’s strengths but we’ve seen with a quality player beside Olivier he can be a really effective striker.

Giroud can pull defenders out of the way while Ozil threads that perfectly weighted ball into Sanchez.

Ozil can also play it into Grioud’s feet and let him hold it up and bring others into play. Ozil can do whatever is asked of him in terms of passing but when he finds Alexis out on the wing facing up a full back with a CB and CM coming over to cover it just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Sanchez is a great player and he’s been fantastic for Arsenal. I just think the Gunners are missing a trick. I think he could offer so much more centrally and by doing so I think we’ll see so much more from Giroud. One hand washes the other but both hands wash the face.
Gough, LFC, Dublin (Arsene doesn’t want to play two strikers though does he?)

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