Big Samuel Allardyce is back in the big time. Well, he’s been given the task of saving West Bromwich Albion’s Premier League status anyway after replacing Slaven Bilic in the Hawthorns hot-seat.
The man who will always be able to say that he has 100%-win ratio as England manager is no stranger to life in the basement of English football’s top-flight, so what will he bring to the table to try to ensure The Baggies beat the drop?
Let the good times roll
Despite wearing more wires than a Mafia informant on the side-lines, Big Sam is old school when it comes to his outlook on life. He may be a stickler for what food his players refuel with after another hard fought point, but when it comes to alcohol – let joy be unconfined.
Forget your namby pamby soft drinks in the hospitality suites after the game, with the new man its wine, wine and more wine – by the pint! In a story that appeared on these pages only last week, we think the way he was stitched up by The Daily Telegraph which ultimately cost him his England job after one game in charge, should be honoured by putting his image on a 20 pound note – especially the bit where he’s necking a nice chilled chardonnay from a pint pot.
Let’s hope Callum Robinson and friends work up a serious thirst during 90 minutes as they’re going to need to prove to the gaffer that they can go the distance, in the bar.
Yes sir, I can boogie
Once the players have won over their new boss by getting s**t faced on cheap plonk, the next phase of the initiation process will be to throw a few shapes on the dancefloor. Big Sam is no stranger to this, of course, having been filmed raving in Marbella after keeping West Ham United in the top-flight after attempting some Afrobeat moves on the pitch at The Reebok Stadium with Bolton Wanderers legend JJ Okocha years before.
The big man was rumoured to have been lined up for Strictly Come Dancing in the summer of 2019, but sadly this never came to pass with fan groups still campaigning for him to go into a live “dance-off” with Alan Pardew to find out just who is the best mover in football management.
West Brom players have to believe that they can stay in the Premier League and they will have been heartened by this week’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City at The Etihad – despite losing their Croatian boss less than 24 hours later.
Big Sam will not be short of motivational advice for his new squad and it’s reported that he likes to show certain movies to his charges before they take to the field. Allardyce is rumoured to like his action movies, so expect all the Fast and Furious reels to make it onto the Hawthorns DVD player as well as a couple of Die Hards.
One movie that certainly won’t be getting a run out is the Russell Crowe epic Gladiator – Allardyce once showed this to his Blackburn Rovers players before a game against Manchester United which they went on to lose 7-1.
The football world was shocked when Allardyce revealed a few years ago that he had been practising transcendental meditation for over a decade to help keep him at the top of his game. Big Sam has long been an advocate of psychology and sports science. But, when he revealed that he had brought in the meditation to see how his Bolton players would react back in 2004, he admitted that after trying it himself he immediately became a convert.
Now I’ll grant you it’s not quite on a par with The Beatles’ visit to India in 1968 to meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which concluded with them deciding to knock the LSD on the head, but the thought of some of Albion’s star performers in a Zen-like state at the training ground makes us want to immediately stick Sergeant Pepper on the turntable and chill.
More cynical Baggies fans will of course already claim that most of the first-team has been playing like men on a bad trip since the new season began.
19th Century Boy
Allardyce’s appointment in the Black Country now means that he’s been in charge of seven out of the 12 sides that were in the top-flight in the 1890-91 season which is ironic, as Jose Mourinho once described his style of play as being like “something from the 19th century.”
If Allardyce gets the West Brom job, he will have managed seven of the twelve sides in the league in 1890-91 (if you count his caretaker stint at Preston).
— Jonathan Wilson (@jonawils) December 16, 2020
For his part, Allardyce basically couldn’t give a toss what other people think, he just gets on with the job in hand to ensure he keeps whatever club he’s in charge of in the Premier League. West Brom fans won’t care a jot if, as Mourinho went on to explain, you need a “Black & Decker to get through the wall that’s in front of you.”
If the Baggies are still in the top-flight come May then there’s nothing more that the fans would like to see than Big Sam showcasing a new dance routine on The Hawthorns pitch.
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