Let’s go straight for the gold: Sam Allardyce getting all bent out of shape on TalkSport.
Allardyce was reacting to an appearance on the station’s Pressbox show by Henry Winter last night, in which he spoke of the technical gap between British and continental coaches. It was a fair comment; Winter was referring to the current generation of recent retirees – Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney – taking coaching jobs and that generally being a positive in regard to narrowing that disparity.
The unemployed, only-ever-set-his-teams-out-in-one-way Allardyce was having none of it.
“Nonsense! What does he know anyway!? It’s an insult to me!
“Alan (Brazil), that’s an insult to me. To think that – not that he knows anyway, because he doesn’t know – that British managers are behind is a nonsense. They’re way, way up there with the best, competing with the best. We have to compete with the best now because we’re the best league in the world.
“We’ve got nine British managers in the Premier League this year and hopefully those managers are going to go on and prove themselves. Steve Bruce, Frank Lampard and Gary Porter have been taken from other clubs…’
Hang on, Gary Porter?
Did he mean Graham Potter?
People make mistakes on live radio, that happens. It’s no less funny when it does, but even so. Anyway, Allardyce goes on to rally against the perception of British coaches, naming all the British managers currently working in the Premier League and citing the competition’s inequalities as the reason why, often, teams managed by those coaches are often forced to operate in a negative and reductive way.
Actually, that is a fair point, but it’s not in itself a contradiction of anything that Henry Winter said. And – please – let’s do away with this perception that the British press is somehow in thrall to foreign coaches.
If anything, the opposite is true. Disparaging remarks are certainly made about the merry-go-round gang – Allardyce, Hughes, Bruce, Pulis, Pardew – but there’s also an awful lot of fawning over Eddie Howe, the Cowley brothers (‘they asked for a dustpan and brush!’) and any other young British manager who shows even the slightest flicker of potential.
Henry Winter’s point – we think – is that none of these managers compare with the high priests of the game. When was the last time a British coach initiated an ideological shift in the sport? Who was the last British coach to be truly considered a member of his profession’s elite? Even locally, who was the last one to alter the shape of British football?
The answer to all of those questions is Alex Ferguson and – for obvious reasons – that just doesn’t count. Ultimately, it’s the self-pity which grinds – the wilful pretence that British coaches haven’t enjoyed a relative immunity from their own performance for the last few decades and, in many cases, been allowed to default into job-after-job by virtue of – really – a lack of imagination on the part of dozens of Premier League chairmen.
And – sorry – but if there was this wide-ranging bias, would Allardyce find it quite so easy to appear on these radio and televisions programmes – or on Goals on Sunday or BeIN with KEYSIE and BIG ANDY or Super Sunday – any time he was ‘looking for a way back in?’
Bore the f*ck off.
Sunny Side Up
A long, long time ago, a Liverpool fan wrote into the mailbox to propose a change in the game’s laws. Kenny Dalglish’s team were missing a lot of chances at the time and our little friend, sadly lost to the internet archives now, wondered aloud as to whether – goals being a rather quaint currency and all – teams shouldn’t just be rewarded for hitting the post and crossbar.
Good news! Ten years later, he’s working for the Liverpool Echo.
‘Manchester City defeated Liverpool 5-4 on penalties in the Community Shield, following a 1-1 draw. Gini Wijnaldum was the unfortunate man who missed, and Alisson Becker was unable to bail the Dutchman out by making a save from Foden, Zinchenko or Jesus.
Based purely on the placement of the spot kicks, Liverpool took the better penalties.’
Man City v Liverpool
An interesting xPG score!
3.9 v 3.1 pic.twitter.com/GlXOpAqOqk
— PenaltyKickStat (@PenaltyKickStat) August 4, 2019
Mediawatch is no luddite, actually we rather like the occasional dose of analytics , but we have absolutely no idea what any of that means.
Footballer says words
It’s just as well as the transfer window shuts tomorrow, because Mediawatch isn’t sure quite how much lower we can all go. Not after this, from The Mirror.
Manchester United may have stepped up their pursuit of Christian Eriksen, but the Tottenham playmaker appeared to suggest this summer that a move to Old Trafford wasn’t at the top of his priorities.
In a clip that has emerged on social media, the Dane was filmed during Spurs’ pre-season tour of Asia in which he was approached by a United fan.
As the Red Devils supporter filmed their meeting, Eriksen obliged with a high five but then said: “Hey, wrong shirt man!”
Eriksen was no doubt poking fun at the United-clad supporter’s choice of shirt but it may come back to bite him if he does indeed seal a switch to Old Trafford this summer.
That is just… spirit-crushingly weak.
The Athletic are on the phone…
Talking of which, The Sun are spending their week doing some invaluable reporting:
‘Alexis Sanchez has been spotted with his new girlfriend at a train station as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plans double training sessions to get the flop back on track.
The Manchester United outcast, 30, was forced to wait an hour for a train from Wimslow to London with his new partner after just missing one – and things are set to get worse for him this week.’
It’s like a formula, isn’t it? Every week someone loiters at the train station Man Utd use and every week these lame little pictures are splashed over tabloid websites. ‘Look! Look! A footballer in a mundane, real world situation!’
Remember this, the next time someone makes a big fuss about not being recognised by the SJA or has a big old sulk about tabloid reporting not getting its dues.
Simon Hughes on FSG
Gregor Robertson on David Platt