And so Newcastle United claims another victim. Barely eight months and a couple of dozen games in to his tenure, Sam Allardyce gets the Geordie heave-ho. Not so much haway lad as on yer way lad. Big Sam was on pretty rocky ground from the outset. He wasn’t exactly the fans overwhelming choice when he was appointed and his brand of football, hugely successful though it had been at Bolton, didn’t set the North East pulse racing.
What’s puzzling though is how his departure can be described as being by ‘mutual consent’. This is a phrase of convenience which clubs now trot out as easily as other classics such as ‘all the boys gave 110%’ and ‘we’re a team that like to play football’. It is, of course, total tosh. An hour before he was dismissed, Allardyce had been briefing members of the press on his plans for the transfer window. Strange behaviour for a man who was about to agree to leave. You can be sure that there was nothing overly mutual about it. Imagine the conversation.
Board. Sorry Sam, things aren’t working out and we want you to leave.
Sam. But I don’t want to.
Board. You haven’t got a choice, we’re sacking you.
Sam. Oh, so that’s it is it?
Board. Well, you will get some compo, about £4 million.
Sam. OK then, just as long as you don’t say I’ve been canned.
Board. Don’t worry; we’ll give it the mutual consent line. That normally works. Let’s face it; we’ve had enough practice since King Kevin left. By the way Sam, you haven’t got his number have you?
I’ve been wondering why the atmosphere at Old Trafford was so hushed the other day or funereal as Sir Alex Ferguson put it. Could it be that the assembled throng were considering the personal challenges that awaited them in 2008 or perhaps the seating was a trifle uncomfortable or the coffee at halftime was less then piping hot. I have, of course, discounted the fact that the crowd may have been bored stiff watching United’s millionaires, perhaps a trifle jaded from their Christmas party, huffing and puffing to beat a poor Birmingham City side by a goal to nil. The same Birmingham City that a few days later were dispatched from the FA Cup by League One Huddersfield Town, where, by the way, the atmosphere at the Galpharm Stadium wasn’t quite so funereal. Strange that!
Talking of the FA Cup, congratulations to the likes of Oldham, Coventry and Sheffield United who, like Huddersfield, managed to beat Premier League opposition. The Cup may be a distraction to some of the big clubs as they strive for the title or top flight survival but it still manages to stir the emotions, particularly on 3rd round day. True, the likes of Chasetown or Havant and Waterlooville will never win it, but try telling their players and supporters that it’s a competition that doesn’t matter.
Spurs boss Juande Ramos doesn’t muck about does he? Paul Robinson is dropped for the Carling Cup clash with arch rivals Arsenal and Jermain Defoe is told he can leave the club. It must have been doubly hard for Defoe to be given that news in the week he featured on Channel 4’s ‘A million pound place in the sun’.
Defoe filmed the show with former fiancé Charlotte Mears before he, using a Ramos like approach, told her that she could leave so he could pick up with Danielle Lloyd. You haven’t got a choice, we’re sacking you..
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