After a week of waiting for the inevitable, Sam Allardyce was finally confirmed as England manager. A lot of people are happy, a lot of people are angry, and a lot are feeling indifferent. While I probably fall into the latter category, I think he was the only serious contender. It’s a decade later than he’d have liked, but Big Sam’s time has arrived.
The main concern for most people seems to be whether England will play attractive football. They won’t, but did they ever? Since Allardyce was interviewed first time around in 2006, England have played well against decent opposition on just two or three occasions. In tournament football, we’ve been awful under both Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson, so I can’t see how Big Sam’s style can be any less attractive. Personally, those fears on philosophy don’t panic me in the slightest.
Moreover, I think Allardyce will almost certainly take the country back to where it should be. We’ll probably be quarter-finalists before losing to one of the world’s better teams. With a little luck, we could potentially reach a semi-final too. Meanwhile, having read Sam’s book, it seems that his progressive thinking could aid the development of future generations too. If I was to sum up my expectations in one word, it would be improvement.
But that’s also my main issue with the appointment. There’s a ceiling to what Allardyce can achieve. The old ‘Allardici’ stuff shows that he is probably more capable of building an England team that won’t crumble defensively, which is a must after the last four years. However, even the most optimistic Englishman would concede that winning the World Cup in 2018 is virtually impossible. For me, it’s a sad day when a new era of English football begins with no real hope.
I do think Allardyce will do a good job, but we should be expecting great. At this time, however, the alternatives of Steve Bruce and co would have been almost laughable.
Allardyce hasn’t evolved much as a manager, his success at West Ham and Sunderland was relatively similar to the job he had done at Bolton. I do believe he is the best man for the job. However, I don’t understand how he supposedly wasn’t the right fit 10 years ago, but is suddenly considered the FA’s right man. If he wasn’t good enough to beat the wolly with the brolly to a job, then it’s quite worrying to think he is now England’s premiere football manager.
Essentially, my opinion is that Sam will take us forward. But only so far. Still, I’ll be right behind him once they start their road to Russia in about six weeks time.
Come on England!