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- The start of last season and the end of this season: the lessons
By Tony Attwood
Sitting at home after doing some shopping at a nearby supermarket (there being no shop in my village) I turned on the TV to take a look at West Ham United v Leeds United. On Sky. Just to see where my tax-payer’s money went to build the wretched place.
We were about to begin the game when the commentator pointed out that the teams were managed by Sam Allerdyce and David Moyes, “two of the most successful managers in English football”.
To say I was shocked does not convey the breadth and depth of my emotional response to that comment. For clearly last night, instead of going to sleep and then waking up the next morning still resident in the same reality, I had, overnight, clearly slipped into a totally different alternative universe. One in which instead of being pesky bystanders Allerdyce and Moyes were men of significance. And instead of the Taxpayers Stadium, paid for by mugs like me who dutifully pay their taxes without question, being a monument to upper class toffs’ stupidity and vanity, it was now a proper stadium paid for by the club that benefitted from it week after week.
And not just that, but in fact quite a frightening, not to say utterly weird reality in which Sam Allerdyce and David Moyes, instead of being among the least successful managers in Premier League football, having not won anything at all that I could remember, were now in fact league winners, cup winners and presumably the winners of a whole raft of European trophies as well.
I tried to sort out my memories. Arsene Wenger, for example. Winner of the FA Cup more than any other manager in the entire history of football. The only manager to have taken a side through a whole season unbeaten, and indeed a total of three titles. Surely he was more successful than the zero that each of these échec lamentables, of whom it has often, and quite rightly, been said.
And surely that Ferguson character who mucked about a bit with Manchester U, didn’t he win something too?
But seemingly not in this new world into which I had stumbled in my sunday afternoon snooze (part of my recovery from a rather nasty cold, I should add). So I had to go looking on wikipedia to find out. And yes, I was wrong. David Moyes won the English super cup in 2013/14 (whatever that was). He also got “promotion to the second league”.
OK, maybe Moyes was a mistake. And surely Very Large Sam of Extreme Proportions and the occasional dodgy bit of doings, surely he must have won things – he’s been around long enough after all. And yes he won promotion out of the Fourth Division in second-place in 1987 with Preston North End as a player. So there!
I do remember however that Owen Oyston, while he was in a prison cell, dismissed Allardyce as manager shortly after a play-off defeat. I think that makes him the only manager to be dismissed from her majesty’s pleasure.
Oh yes and he also relegated Notts County in 1997. According to his autobiography though it wasn’t his fault. The players just wouldn’t do as he said. Pesky people, these players.
In fact the whole essence of the Allerdycian story can be summed up by the fact that on 15 May 2007, Newcastle United announced that Allardyce had signed a three-year contract, and then he was sacked the following January. It just keeps on happening. Well, not to me, but to some people. People called Allerdyce.
On 19 September 2006, Allardyce, and his son, were implicated in a Panorama programme on the BBC Football’s Dirty Secrets where he was shown taking bribes. Allardyce denied it. Since then Allardyce won’t speak to the BBC and said he was going sue. He didn’t. It’s a funny ol game.
Moyes, to be clear, is a bit of a funny old cove, but he is not Allerdycian. and he did win the second division with Preston. But more to the point, according to Wiki, “In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Moyes accepted a 30% cut to his salary at West Ham… [to help] … retain jobs allowing them to pay 100% of non-playing staff salaries. He left London during the pandemic and worked in his home village in Lancashire delivering fruit and vegetables to those in need, which actually says a lot about the man. He’s not Allerdyce, and although not successful as a manager should never be compared with the Large One.
Any way Leeds and the Enlarged Beastie lost – or at least they were losing when I looked. 3-1 I think. Well, if a club most employ the Very Large One, what do they expect?
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