Big Sam has etched his name into the Premier League history books as an escape artist. He’s the man you call when your club is on the ropes and in danger of relegation from the Premier League. The last chance to comeback from the brink and stay in the top flight.
Allardyce has done it time and time again over his career, but this time it wasn’t to be. He served 17 seasons in the Premier League and this is the first season that he has been relegated from the Premier League, as West Brom saw defeat against Arsenal at the weekend. It will feel a bitter blow as it was against a team that he had said were in the relegation fight with him earlier in the season.
He gained his reputation as a survival specialist back in 2003 when he was in charge of Bolton. His side struggled all season but managed to avoid relegation with a final day win over Middlesbrough. In 2008 he joined Blackburn Rovers and guided them from 19th place to 15th in his first season at the club, before managing a similar feat at Sunderland the following season.
Yet again in 2016 he steered relegation-threatened Crystal Palace away from the drop, and by now he was known as the man to save a team from relegation. That’s no doubt the reason why West Brom appointed Big Sam, and they were hoping for another miracle. The Baggies had one win from 18 games when he took over and it was always going to be one of the biggest challenges he had faced as a manager.
His style of play has adjusted over time but there must be something where he maybe didn’t do enough to keep with the way the game has been evolving. If you look at Guardiola (because you always want to compare to the best) you need to see the changes he made when he was exposed defensively and I am sure he was thinking about what Tuchel has been doing to his team.
That is what Allardyce will be looking at, wondering if he could have done way more. That is what everyone thinks when they get relegated including the players because I went through it personally, and it’s something I hated the most in my career.
Can he still make a team that is better than the ones that are hard to beat and normally extremely fit? I would love to see him have a team that is in control for the full 90 minutes, where his side have the ball, dictating the tempo even when they lose the ball. His mentality is no-nonsense so let’s see if he can get that back in his team and make them take control during the game, because relegation battles take a lot of energy and happiness away.
In the end he did get some form going for West Brom but it was too big of a task and the Baggies will be playing Championship football next season. It will be interesting to see what’s next for Big Sam, and if we’ll have another chance to see him escape the drop. #mmlove