Maestro7 0 Posted January 10, 2008 Share Posted January 10, 2008 So Sam Allardyce has become the latest managerial casualty at Newcastle. I thought about choking over my coffee when I heard the news but then decided against it. For while a manager being sacked after just eight months would be shocking news at most other clubs, only at Newcastle can we take the news with a sigh, a puff of the cheeks, and a tut or a smile depending on your allegiances towards Big Sam. We've been here before of course. Many times. Though this time perhaps the surprise is slightly greater for the sheer fact that Big Sam brought with him a long-term plan, something that appeared to have been swept under the carpet ever since Sir John Hall wondered aloud that a team of 11 Geordies would be rather nice. Granted the football has been a bit of a shambles this season. Let's not get away from the fact. Any team that struggles to score goals when Michael Owen is up front has to be doing something wrong. Allardyce also spent so long concentrating on defence that he forgot we had no one in midfield with the simple ability to pass a ball through the middle. Watching Michael Owen run channels, and Viduka just not run, is not a great combination when you're looking to finish off games. Lazy critics may mock the defence time and time again, but for me, the greatest problem was that lack of creativity in midfield. The way Man City's Elano opened us up time and time again at the City of Machester stadium earlier this season only rammed home exactly what we lacked. It was a masterclass that the likes of Alan Smith and Joey Barton could only aspire to. My early pre-season optimism surrounding the blossoming career of young Aussie midfielder James Troisi disappeared faster than the plane carrying him to Roda JC this week. And which first team players have we been linked with so far in January? Defensive midfielders and central defenders. You don't unlock a door by buying a padlock. That to me was Allardyce's biggest downfall. No wonder he played a long-ball game. Bypassing midfield wasn't actually a bad option, especially when his most creative midfielder was being played at left-back. His signings have been suspect too. Decent wheeling and dealing saw him land Viduka, Faye and Beye on the cheap, but the real money signings like Joey Barton, Jose Enrique and Alan Smith simply haven't worked for a whole variety of reasons. And the gutless performances against Wigan and Derby in December simply was as bad as it has got since the Latics knocked out Graeme Souness' side from the League Cup a couple of years ago. With Allardyce's priority appearing to be to stop the opposition first and foremost, rather than making them worry about our strengths first, his reign at Newcastle would always be limited. You cannot go to Reading or Sunderland looking for a draw. Even teams below us in the league would be plotting the downfall of these teams, rather than looking for a 0-0 draw like we did. Draw first, and a win is a bonus. That appeared to be the mentality, and that simply is not what people pay their money to see. Not here, not anywhere. A team boasting the likes of Duff, Owen, N'Zog, Viduka, Milner, Barton, Martins is simply not set up to grind out 0-0 draws. Allardyce was fixated on defending, when the attack was crying out for some attention. Allowing Allardyce to leave after just eight months was probably just putting an end to the inevitable long-term. Sure, it doesn't feel quite right to get rid of a manager so soon, but will anyone shed a tear if it means N'Zogbia playing at left-wing, Milner on the right, and Martins and Owen upfront? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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