Do Allardyce’s comments mask his talents?

Blackburn Rovers manager Sam AllardyceOn hearing the comments that Sam Allardyce made this week regarding his belief in his own ability, I literally burst out laughing and, I’m sure on hearing the comments, anybody who didn’t do the same just sat in utter bemusement. Allardyce has since somewhat retracted his comments by claiming they were tongue-in-cheek, but whether this is the case of not, he clearly believes in his own ability. For anyone that missed it, he said:

“I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid. It wouldn’t be a problem for me to manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time.

“Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn’t be a problem.

“It’s not a problem to take me into the higher reaches of the Champions League or Premier League and would make my job a lot easier in winning it.”

The idea of Allardyce being in charge of any of these clubs is laughable; in fact the only blot in his copybook, is at the biggest club he has managed. Allardyce wanted a bigger club after Bolton, and got his wish at Newcastle, but it was disaster. His time at St James Park was awful, but this – and comments such as the ones he made this week – overshadow what has been an impressive career.

Before I big up Big Sam (incidentally he is a pretty average six foot, is that considered big?), I must first make clear that I really detest watching his sides play football. I totally understand that it is effective, and that he can only do so much with the players at his disposal, but actually having to watch them is a painful process.

Having got Bolton promoted to the Premier League, Allardyce set about establishing them as a top flight team. Two seasons battling relegation and keeping the club safe included a match against Manchester United where they became the first side to come from behind to win at Old Trafford in the Premier League era; the same game where England’s worst ever player – no arguments please – Michael Ricketts, scored the winner.

Those two seasons were followed by four seasons of consecutive top ten finishes (8th, 6th, 8th and 7th), becoming the only team outside of the old Big Four to achieve the feat in that period of time. The 6th place finish also earned the club a place in the Uefa Cup where they went out to Marseille in the last 32, as well as a Carling Cup Final appearance.

On the other side of the poor Newcastle stint, Allardyce rescued Blackburn from Paul Ince’s unqualified grasp. Unbeaten in his first nine games in charge of his new club, Allardyce guided the club to 15th place and to safety. Last season, they finished 10th and managed to remain unbeaten against all of the Big Four at home.

Allardyce obviously considers himself a great manager, or he wouldn’t have told every living soul that he wanted the England job, even going as far as saying that if he was called ‘Allardici’ he would have been appointed. Allardyce has a very specific skill in getting the best out of the players at his disposal and making his teams very difficult to beat. Yes it’s ugly, and yes it can be extremely boring, but in a business where managers are judged by the results they achieve, he is very good at what he does. I would be amazed if Allardyce were to be employed by England or Real Madrid, but Blackburn are now in a better position due to his skills, as are Bolton from his previous tenure at the Reebok. And even if all of that isn’t enough, at least he brought Jay-Jay Okocha to the Premier League, and that deserves a medal alone.

Hey, maybe I’ll throw my name into the ring for a job at Real as well? You can get updates on my articles in the same way Florentino Perez can, by following me on twitter.

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