American writer Mike Yaconelli once said, “Immorality is much more than adultery and dishonesty: it is living drab, colourless, dreary, stale, unimaginative lives.” And while Yaconelli was referring to God and sin, it is a theory that quite nicely sums up why Sam Allardyce has been almost universally shunned at Everton.
Having been sacked earlier this week, a shortlist of managers has been drafted. The ever-sought-after Marco Silva is the frontrunner with odds of 1/2. Yet the real value is in Sean Dyche, the current Burnley manager, making a move. His odds sit at 25/1 and can be enhanced with a Sign up bonus from ComeOn.
Allardyce’s early dismissal comes as no surprise; his entire tenure at Goodison has been an exercise in dismantling aspirations. For a set of fans whose season begun with Farhad Moshiri’s new ownership, huge, fresh investment, a promising manager and talk of Champions League qualification, to be subjected to Allardyce’s unending dourness is too much to stomach.
Teams operating in the upper echelons of football have a tendency to work in their manager’s image – Liverpool are as maniacal as Klopp, Manchester City as methodical as Guardiola. Everton are no different. When they take to the field, sport ceases to exist, instead the game is transformed into a grinding, exhaustive war of attrition. The same levels of buoyancy and joy shown on the field as expressed across their manager’s face.
The stats reflect just how moribund the football was last season.
For total shots registered on goal, Everton rank last.
For shots on target, Everton rank last.
For chances created, Everton rank last.
For total dribbles completed, Everton rank second last.
The style of football is not the only aspect of Allardyce’s management that has stoked the ire of the Everton support, there is also ‘Big Sam’s’ reluctance to shoulder any blame or responsibility after defeat. After a spineless 1-0 loss at the hands of Watford, Big Sam shrugged his shoulders and said, “They get the ball and pass it, not me. You can’t blame me if they don’t pass the ball to each other.” This, sadly, was neither the first nor the last time that Allardyce would heap the responsibility of failure onto his players.
Such shirking of responsibility is an anathema to a man who paints himself as an unshakable keystone around which you can build the foundations of any football club.
The future for Allardyce remains unclear.
One option is to galivant into the sunset with the sizable payoff received from the Toffees, rumoured to be somewhere in the region of £10million, and retire to his Spanish summer home. This is what many felt he would do after losing the England job before ever prowling the Wembley dugout.
With his CV boasting that he has managed to secure the safety of the likes of Blackburn, Sunderland and Crystal Palace the other option is to continue to market himself as some sort of mythical relegation-retardant, last roll of the dice manager. The Premier League’s answer to Saint Jude the patron saint of lost causes. There are worst things in this world to be.