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Big Sam leaves Newcastle United

Big Sam

Sam Allardyce has left Newcastle United “by mutual consent”, leaving many scratching their heads wondering “why now?”, and raising questions on what is increasingly seen as the most difficult role in football.

The former Bolton manager’s position as the manager of Newcastle United was in jeopardy even before the start of his tenure with rumours of being replaced by the club’s new owners, as they didn’t “see him as their man”.

Despite this, many in the press heralded Big Sam’s arrival at Newcastle as that positive shift that the club needed to get it back to the “Kevin Keegan” days of high-pressure football. The introduction of an “Ivan Drago”-like science psychological diet inspired by Allardyce’s tenure in America was seen as many as the winning ingredient, the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that was Newcastle United.

However as performances dipped, so did doubts in both quality of transfer signings and also on-the-field tactics/strategy which lead to players in odd positions, and choosing some players over others (ie: Emre) which lead to many questions.

Soon the fans were turning against Big Sam, booing him and chanting “You don’t know what you’re doing”, etc. Allardyce responded with a heartfelt defensive game against Arsenal, but this was just wallpaper over deep-rooted cracks, which were long embedded, well before Allardyce’s appointment.

The pressure intensified even more during the Christmas period, when Newcastle took just one point from four games, and losing to Derby – who recorded their first win of the season against United.

Parting company is a shock to many, including myself – and questions still remain over his sudden departure.

The questions;

  1. Why did Big Sam leave now? Drawing against Stoke City in the FA is not a sackable offence. I would have at least given him after the January transfer period and after the FA cup, or at least 1 season.
  2. Was money for transfers the reason for Big Sam leaving?
  3. Was the back-room whispering campaign orchestrated by Alan Shearer’s PR team that he wanted to be manager of Newcastle United a reason behind his leaving?
  4. Who would, in their right mind, want to manage Newcastle United, knowing that within 6 months they’re going to be sacked?In the past few weeks a lot of newspapers (mainly in the South) have been writing how the Newcastle Fans are to blame for Big Sam’s departure – what is the impact of this, and is this somehow involved within Newcastle’s inability to give a manager a shot?
  5. Just how much has player-power to do with Sam’s sudden departure?

In my mind the whole thing is a shambles. But then it always has been. Ever since Keegan left, every fan/chairman has wanted to grab that special moment in time when Newcastle lost to Liverpool 4-3, and try to replicate the buzz, the style, the all-out-attack, and yet not one has delivered.

A lot of other clubs/fans must be laughing/chuckling at the proverbial swing door of Newcastle United, no manager is going to take up the poisoned chalice – although we all still live in hope.

Yes. Sam’s on-field tactics and positioning of players were out of odds to the way Newcastle played, and the long-ball approach is not what the premiership is about. Was Newcastle right to sack Big Sam? I think it was just the wrong time for both him and Newcastle.

If anything, Newcastle’s past 10 years have proven that the constant chop-and-change mantra doesn’t work. I fear that the desperate calls to get Alan Shearer as manager will only go to prove that Newcastle United is all ultimately about right now, the short-term, and instant-success rather than long-term results.

If possible, I’d like to get Ottmar Hitzfeld – as he has proven results, and given time/opportunity will prove successful at Newcastle – however if the Big Sam saga has taught us anything – it’s that at Newcastle you are given neither time, nor opportunity.


Were Newcastle right to part company with Allardyce?