In what should be a shock but in fact comes as no surprise, Sam Allardyce left Everton Football Club last week.
It is hard to believe that, after taking charge of a struggling side just 4 points above the relegation zone in December and finishing in 8th place, Big Sam has received such strong backlash from some fans. The ‘Everton Way’ has been mentioned multiple times and ultimately, the unattractive style of play led to his downfall.
But while the grass may appear greener on the other side, Everton may end up regretting their decision. One need not look very far to see what may lie ahead for owner Farhad Moshiri.
Criticism for Allardyce’s style of play has followed the former England manager throughout his managerial career and led to some rash decisions that clubs may now regret.
Newcastle gave Allardyce the boot after just half a season in January 2008, with the club in 11th place. The following season they were relegated to the Championship for the first time since 1989.
He then took over at Blackburn Rovers in December 2008, who at the time found themselves lingering in 19th place. They finished the season in 15th, before a very respectable 10th the following season. However, he was again relieved of his duties in December 2010 following a few poor results with the club 13th in the table.
Suffering a similar fate to Newcastle, they were relegated the following season and spent five seasons in the Championship, before dropping down to League One last year.
West Ham were next to hire Allardyce, who was tasked with taking the club back up to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Despite accomplishing this task via the play-off final, Allardyce faced constant criticism and protests for his style, which was not ‘the West Ham way’, and he eventually left at the end of the 2014/15 season with West Ham an established top-flight team once again.
The Hammers remain the only club to achieve any kind of success following Big Sam’s departure, finishing 7th the next year, but have had plenty of well-documented issues since.
if any more evidence were required, just look at how Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland and Crystal Palace faired after his departure. The writing is on the wall and Everton must be careful as they move forward. Every fan wants their team to follow Pep Guardiola’s philosophy and play attractive football, but at what cost?
Big Sam’s style is often criticised as ‘long-ball tactics’, but he has his priorities in the correct order. Get the results first, then you can improve the style. After guiding Bolton to the top-flight, players like Jay Jay Okocha, Ivan Campo, Fernando Hierro and Nicolas Anelka were brought in and the style was improved. But often Allardyce’s main responsibility when he joins a new club is to stop the rot, a role in which he excels.
This was also the case with Everton. Ronald Koeman tried to play attractive football but didn’t produce results. Everton needed somebody to bring tability and, in the short-term at least, it was mission accomplished. While it hasn’t always been pretty, what’s the point of playing ‘the Everton way’, ‘the West Ham way’ or ‘the Newcastle way’ if you end up in the Championship?
Perhaps with the backing of the board and a full season at the helm, Big Sam could have built a team capable of breaking into the top six. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how Everton fare next season.