As Sam Allardyce watched over his new charges at Goodison Park for the first time last week, it would have been easy to think that, in carving out a comfortable 4-0 win over West Ham, his mere presence had improved things.
On the other hand, one could equally have looked at the presence of David Moyes in the away dugout and found their explanation there. In five matches against the Toffees since Moyes left Goodison in 2013, his teams have five losses, no goals scored, and twelve conceded. Nonetheless, Everton looked better against Moyes’ West Ham side than they have for a very long time and then backed up that win with a victory over Huddersfield Town – so will the Allardyce era mark an end to their recent underachievement?
No Lack Of Confidence
During his time out of managerial work, Allardyce gave an interview to Andy Gray and Richard Keys in which he suggested that his unemployed status was because he was English. A handy response to this odd comment might have been that Allardyce was literally managing the national team until he offered to help some undercover reporters circumvent FA regulations.
However, his comments to Gray and Keys speak to Allardyce’s belief in his own abilities, and that aspect at least is backed by a sound record. At Bolton, West Ham, Sunderland, and Crystal Palace, he’s usually done what he set out to do. His teams may not be thrilling, but they are largely effective.
Everton To Go Back To Basics?
Since David Moyes left the Everton job, the received wisdom has been that his successors have tried too hard to mould the team into a more stylish side than he fielded. While this is harsh on Roberto Martinez, whose record at Goodison was actually better than Moyes’, Ronald Koeman’s efforts were less successful. Allardyce is likely to have no time for those men’s neat triangles and progressive passing.
Big Sam will instead favour a directness and defensive robustness that was last seen at Everton in the Moyes era. Is that what the club needs? Well, it worked a treat as they beat Huddersfield last weekend – a result that was guessed correctly in Bet and Skill’s free tips and predictions, which back the Yorkshire side to bounce back with a draw against Brighton on Saturday.
Will Allardyce Ultimately Be Successful?
Given his spectacularly abortive run at the England job, being in control at Everton is arguably the closest the former Bolton man has got, or will get, to a big job in football. We know he thinks he could manage Real Madrid, but we also know he never will, so this may be his biggest shot.
Allardyce will have a decent budget and a team that does not lack skill or big names, so he needs to show he’s more than just a very successful firefighter (as he was at Palace and Sunderland) or an overachiever on limited means, as he was with Bolton.
If Allardyce can get Everton into the European spots that should be within their reach, and end their years of maddening inconsistency to keep them there, then he may well be as good as he seems to believe he is.