why we hate ... 

sam allardyce

This article first appeared in MEHSTG Vol 2. Issue 33 - August 2003

There is something bizarre happening at the Reebok Stadium.  Towards the end of last season, their manager believed that he was some sort of psychological genius … trying to psyche out every opponent that he came across. 

With Spurs, it was the fact that he believed there was something very wrong happening behind the scenes at White Hart Lane.  Now, you would have thought that he had enough on his plate at Bolton to occupy his mind, without having to delve into the imagined problems that our club have.  However, his perception failed to go any deeper than that and reveal exactly what the trouble was.

And his marvellous insight worked.  Yes, Spurs played right into his hands and lost out to a 90th minute penalty.  What meticulous planning.  Even to the extent that Tottenham dominated the game in the first half and had a shot cleared off the line. 

It’s not that this was the end of Bolton’s egotism !!  There are rumours that they want to sign Guardiola and Bergkamp, but the best came in their reported interest in Chelsea’s young keeper Rhys Evans, who was released at the end of the season.  A club spokesman denied that they would follow through their pursuit of the England Under-21 keeper, because “Big Sam has ended his interest” in the player.  

“Big Sam”.  “Big Sam”.  

What the hell is all that about ??  “Big” implies presence (which he might have as he blocks out the sun if you stand the wrong side of him) and some sort of standing in the game.  Does he wear a Fedora hat and smoke big cigars to make him like “Big Mal” (Malcolm Allison) ??  Is it “Big” because of the size of his mouth ??  DO they call him “big” because they run around him in pre-season training to get fit (it’s a long way you know) ??  Is it “Big” and clever ??  

NO !!  None of these.

It must have related to the overblown importance he thinks he has.  His side of foreign imports stayed up and full credit to them for doing so.  I feel that little of it had anything to do with the manager.  Even the crowd played more of a big part than this buffoon, whose side conceded so many late goals, that they came out of games with big disappointments.  Big names to not flock to the Reebok.  Big reputations are not made there.  It is a big jump from Division One to the Premiership and by staying in it, you do well, but the real test is how big you are in making progress to the next level.  Some of the promoted clubs do this and strike it big, some settle for the big relief of 17th place. 

If Allardyce’s name was “Ed”, his prefix would have fitted nicely.  It can only pertain to his shape, as there is nothing big about him or his club.  The small minded conduct during Tottenham’s interest in Michael Ricketts showed that and while, it might not have been entirely the right approach made by Spurs, many of the comments that came out of Bolton from manager and chairman were refuted by the Tottenham board and Director of Football.  In the end, they might have done us a favour selling him to Boro, as the money has now been wisely spent on Helder Postiga … who has never heard of Bolton Wanderers, no doubt !! 

I know clubs have to big themselves up, so their fans have some self respect, but to big up the character of a manager, who was a solid professional and is trying to be the same as a boss, is a hilarious mistake.  Far from making him a focal point of the club, it makes him sound like a children’s TV character … and one that is not in the league of the Fimbles, I can tell you.  They would have done better getting rid of that ridiculous bear thing that is their mascot and bringing in a pig (The Trotters – get it) and calling it “Big Sam”.  I am sure everyone would have got the relevance !! 

It’s not even that I really loathe Bolton and their manager.  It is more like pity.  Any good young players that they have had have gone or lost the sparkle they first had when they entered the side.  Ricketts looked good for a season, but then the manager refused to select him for the team, thus damaging his confidence and ruining the run he was on.  Kevin Nolan was another promising individual, looking set to be a lesser version of Steven Gerrard, but where is he now ??  

It would be “Big” of him if he could be more magnanimous to his opponents, but that is a “big” if.  They would have been better going along with an epithet from “Bugsy Malone” and calling him “Fat Sam”, which could have referred to his mouth, head, figure or even the chances that his team will stay in the Premiership for very long.


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