By Dave Downie
Since Sam Allardyce’s sacking earlier, there’ve been a number of non-Evertonians aghast at the decision for Everton to part company with the 63-year old.
Many agree with the wider media narrative that he’s done a good job in a difficult season, whilst others are peddling the “be careful what you wish for” cliché.
It appears to many that Everton fans should simply not be afforded the right to want better as a football club and that Sam Allardyce has been unfairly treated in his dismissal because the club can’t really hope to do better.
Let’s take a look at some quotes, aside from a truly abysmal style of football and some pathetic performances under Allardyce, and judge whether fans of other clubs would be so accommodating if Big Sam was to take the helm at their sacred parish.
Here we go, in no particular order.
Following reports Wayne Rooney is to cut his deal with Everton short by twelve months to join MLS side DC United: “If any player wants to leave, then I’m comfortable with that.”
After a sixth win in 21 games in all competitions away at Huddersfield: “I can’t honestly produce any more than I’m doing.”
Allardyce’s style of football and fan discontent was put to him following a 1-0 win over Newcastle, a game in which the Blues only had one shot on target: “We completely dominated the game, out-passed the opposition in their half. Some of our passing went astray but in fairness you can’t really blame me for that can you? I don’t pass the ball out there, the lads do.”
A weakened Liverpool side arrived at Goodison for a rather meaningless Merseyside derby, a week on from a one sided defeat in which Allardyce also started Wayne Rooney: “I can agree with you, to a certain degree, that Wayne struggles against the very best opposition.”
On one of Everton’s most exciting prospects Ademola Lookman: “He wouldn’t be available on loan, because Aaron Lennon went (to Burnley) a few days ago”
3 days later, February 1st, Lookman joined Bundesliga side RB Leipzig on loan until the rest of the season as opposed to joining Allardyce’s preferred destination, Derby County: “It’s one of the most unusual situations I’ve been in. We got some deals for him but he was adamant he chose Germany.
We wanted him to go out on loan in the hope he is going to play first-team football every week and I think we had a much better opportunity to do that but his stubbornness means he got his own way in the end.”
Lookman has scored or assisted in 8 of his 11 appearances in Germany.
After a 4-0 defeat to Spurs with no shots on target: “Maybe I have a bit of responsibility by playing too much attacking-minded players and not as many defending-minded players. I should have got back to being a bit more boring and a bit less adventurous.”
Commenting after a record 2 wins in 11 games: “I am here as long as I win matches, I’m slightly surprised by speculation”
“The expectation is the same as Newcastle and the same as West Ham but Everton have won a lot more in past years. They have as big an expectation at Newcastle and West Ham as they do at Everton.”
Allardyce talks about his time at Everton so far, bizarrely claiming Everton were below West Brom when he took over: “I personally don’t think I could have done much more with the staff I’ve got in the period of time I’ve been working here with these players who were in an extremely difficult position before I arrived.
“For instance West Bromwich Albion were above us when I arrived. Look where we are now and look where West Brom are.”
Since joining Everton in November, Allardyce repeatedly claimed to have been manager for a victory against West Ham when in truth, he wasn’t appointed until the following day with David Unsworth in the dugout for the 4-0 victory. The manager clarifies: “I came in for West Ham and spoke to the players. It helped have a positive effect.
“David does the last game and he gets the win. We both benefit from that and move forward. Where we have gone from there, I consider it my contribution, which is 30 points from 21 games, rather than 13 games, 12 points.
“I had a contribution to play in the victory over West Ham that day. I spoke to the players before the game. The players reacted. I’m not saying they reacted to what I said but they certainly reacted to a new manager on the door.
“When a new manager comes in, even if he hasn’t taken a coaching session, the players go out and respond to it. They think, ‘I have got to prove that I deserve my place in the side’. That contributed to what was a great victory.”
After a humbling at Goodison against Manchester City, Allardyce defied the critics of his style with this wonderful comment on how to deal with the then champions elect: “In the end, if you can’t mark them, foul them.”
Allardyce responds to criticism once again, with what he appears to think is a record against Liverpool that’s worth shouting about: “If my two league games against Liverpool this season had been a Champions League tie, we’d have gone through. That’s something my critics won’t tell you.”
Since the writing has been on the wall, the former England manager has been manoeuvring his allies within the media with pin-point accuracy in recent weeks, culminating in a frankly embarrassing, ego-massaging love fest on Sky Sports News on Monday which would have you checking if you’d suddenly been teleported to North Korea, such was the level of propaganda emanating from Jim White’s mouth.
Not thirty seconds had passed since the manager of a record seven Premier League clubs was praising Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City when the conversation turned to his “tremendous 8th place finish,” (White’s words) with Everton. The pair then continued to marvel at the stellar job the Blues boss had done since taking over at Goodison Park last November, making you think the “achievement” was similar to that of the aforementioned champions.
The kindest compliment that could be paid to Allardyce is that he secured the club’s immediate Premier League future – how difficult a task that was is debatable though, given the dearth of quality in the top flight this season added to the sobering fact that 34 points would’ve been enough to stay in the division.
Any fan of any club pompously criticising Everton supporters for wanting better than this is a hypocrite of the highest order.