How Allardyce can save England
LONDON — Last week, the worst-kept secret in international football was spilled when Sam Allardyce was announced as the new england manager. Apparently, the FA’S first choice was Allardyce’s old critic and sparring partner, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, who once accused the one-time Bolton manager of producing “anti-football”. Wenger preferred to remain in his current job.
That the Frenchman was first on the FA’S list and Allardyce second paints a vivid picture of the confusion that has bedevilled english football at all levels of coaching and administration for at least a generation. It’s rather as if a film studio, on finding that the auteur Terrence Malick was unavailable to direct a film, decided to go for Guy Ritchie instead. What kind of film, you would rightly ask, do they have in mind?
By the same token, what kind of football does the FA have in mind? Because there could be no two more divergent philosophies of the game than Wenger’s and Allardyce’s. If the Arsenal man is all about the aesthetics of possession, intricate passing and swift movement, then the englishman has built his career on blunt pragmatism that more often than not takes the shape of intimidating physical strength and emphatically direct football.
The new Manchester United manager, José Mourinho, who is no martyr to the school of art for art’s sake, once referred to Allardyce’s football as “19th century”.
elsewhere, he has been regularly pilloried for practising the crude “long-ball” tactics that held english football in aspic for decades.
In his two biggest jobs, as manager of Newcastle United and then of West ham United, Allardyce was sacked not because of any great failure, but because his style of football was unpopular with the fans.
To some extent, these criticisms are unfair. Leicester City played a brand of football to win the Premier League last season very similar to the kind Allardyce preaches and they couldn’t have been more adored.
Part of the reason for this inconsistency comes down to personality and appearance. “Big Sam” had the misfortune of looking like the archetype of a manager from another era. he’s a large man with a meaty, implacable face and a confidence that borders on the egomaniacal. he can often seem as though he is figuratively clothed in a sheepskin coat.
“Unfortunately, I cannot help the way I were born and the way I look,” he told one interviewer. “If people see you skin deep, then they’ll make a skin-deep judgment.
“The ‘rugged’ perception comes from the past, the career history: not a flamboyant or cultured footballer, a fairly straightforward, basic defender that played in all four divisions of the Football League… But it’s never really worried me. I do whatever I think needs to be done.”
But in spite his protestations about not caring, there is a sense that the cocksure manner is the product of poorly concealed resentment at not being fully appreciated by the football establishment, the media and the fans.
Lesser men would have buckled under the negative reactions that Allardyce has provoked. But his outlook has remained balanced by a chip on both shoulders. he famously said that he would never manage a top-four side because his name wasn’t Allardici.
however, he seems to be motivated by an ever-deepening desire to prove the world wrong and gain the acclaim he feels he deserves. And nowhere provides a better opportunity than the england job. Nor does any other position offer a greater chance of personal defeat.
If all political careers end in failure, then the england manager’s job ends in national humiliation. Only Sir Alf Ramsey has ever won anything — the World Cup in 1966 — and he was sacked and practically erased from public view.
Others have not been treated quite so kindly. Bobby Robson, Graham Taylor, Glenn hoddle, Kevin Keegan, Steve Mcclaren and Roy hodgson: all of them departed with boos ringing in their ears and vicious lampoons in the newspapers.
And that’s not to mention the lavishly paid foreign imports Sven-göran eriksson and Fabio Capello, whose teams were studies in underachievement.
The only advantage Allardyce has is that, after such a sustained period of disappointment, the level of expectation is at a historical low.
Perhaps the position was inadvertently best summed up by the football writer who, recalling the stubbornly defensive performance by Allardyce’s West ham that earned Mourinho’s condemnation, asked: “What wouldn’t england’s supporters have given for such an approach against Iceland.”
In other words, so far have national prospects fallen, that our greatest hope is that a team from the wealthiest football nation in the world might set out to gain a 0-0 draw against a sparsely populated volcanic island with a league that is ranked 36th in europe.
In a way, Allardyce’s job is to turn england into the new Iceland. his expertise lies with plucky underdogs, making small clubs punch above their weight. — Guardian The International Olympic Committee faces an unprecedented backlash from anti-doping groups and athletes after it decided not to impose a blanket ban on the Russian team competing in next’s month’s Rio Games. Instead it ruled the 28 individual sports federations which make up the summer Olympics were free to decide the fate of Russians on a case-by-case basis.
Dick Pound, (pictured) the former World Anti-doping Agency president who authored a damning report into statesponsored doping in Russia last November, claimed the IOC’S decision had revealed there “was zero tolerance for doping, unless it’s Russia”.
“The IOC had a huge opportunity to make a statement. It’s been squandered,” he said.
The 59-member Institute of National Anti-doping Organisations called the news “a sad day for clean sport‚” adding: “The IOC has ignored the calls of clean athletes, a multitude of athlete organisations, and of leading National Anti-doping Organisations, to do the right thing by excluding Russia.”
Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Olympic long jump champion, Greg Rutherford, said the IOC’S decision to pass the buck to its individual federations was “a spineless attempt to appear as the nice guy to both sides”. — Guardian LONDON — New 2016 championship leader Lewis hamilton (pictured) believes his crash with Nico Rosberg at May’s Spanish GP has proved the “turning point” of his season.
The reigning world champion dislodged Rosberg from the head of the Drivers’ Championship for the first time this year with a controlled victory in hungary on Sunday - his fifth win in the six races since the Mercedes’ came together on the first lap at Barcelona.
Before that collision, hamilton had failed to win any of the first four rounds and Rosberg had built up a commanding 43-point title lead.
But two months on, and having now opened up a six-point advantage in his favour, a reflective Hamilton was quoted as saying by the Guardian: “I think Spain was definitely a turning point.
“It didn’t feel like it was but it was rock bottom basically. The only way was up. I just managed to get my head together and get my s*** together and get on with it, even though I have less engines, my mechanics had been changed.
“All these different things which didn’t seem to be working. I just had to deal with it. Since then we’ve pulled together.”
hamilton has outscored Rosberg by 49 points in the six races since Spain, with the German’s only win during that period coming in Baku when the Briton crashed in qualifying. — Sky Sports
NEW England manager Sam Allardyce.