It has been over two months since ‘Big Sam’ was unveiled as the new Everton manager, replacing the perpetually forlorn David Unsworth. In that time, he has never really been embraced by his new set of fans.
Despite being the embodiment of Premier League security, he is, with some betting firms, fourth favourite to be the next manager sacked in the league. In fact, when utilising 1Xbet Promotions, odds as high as 20/1 for his dismissal can be found. His perceived fragility stems exclusively from his playing style.
For clubs like Everton, entities who have made midtable their permanent abode, there inevitably comes an existential crisis. Why do they exist? What is their function? Despite Leicester winning the Premier League title, such a feat being replicated by one of their peers is a virtual impossibility, while relegation too is a disaster easily avoided. Without titles to chase or a demotion to avoid, these clubs merely drift from season to season.
It is then essential that these clubs strive for something to set them apart. If fans are expected to shell out exorbitant sums of hard-earned cash to watch their club appear frozen in stasis, then they deserve the right to be entertained for ninety minutes.
This is the dilemma that Sam Allardyce has failed time and time again to get his head around. For the experienced gaffer fan enjoyment is a neglected afterthought, a concept that lurks somewhere far to the back of his mind, sandwiched between remembering to put the toilet seat down, and remembering the name of the guy who presented Bullseye.
Big Sam is at his happiest when he is able to turn each and every Premier League game into a war of attrition. A series of pitched battles where the traditional measures of manliness are pitted against their adversaries. Guile, ingenuity, grace and panache all abandoned in favour of grit, aggression and furious application of effort.
At his previous clubs this mode of thinking was understandable, after all sides like Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Blackburn were rarely in a position to play beautiful football. When those clubs hired Big Sam, it was as much a distress call as it was a managerial appointment. They saw chasm of relegation widening and acknowledged that Allardyce’s methods, however coarse, were strong enough to lift them from the abyss.
At Everton however, things are different. The Toffee’s aren’t a side who see themselves as a club who must battle relegation with all their strength. They want to gaze upward, especially considering that over £200million worth of talent has been acquired in the last two transfer windows.
Allardyce however fails to address his fans complaints. After a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Spurs the jowly gaffer said, “Maybe I have a bit of responsibility by playing too much attacking-minded players and not as many defending-minded players. I should have got back to being a bit more boring and a bit less adventurous.”
For the majority of Everton fans, who had just witness the fourth game of Allardyce’s brief tenure not to feature a shot on target, this was akin to having a nail driven into the base of their skulls.
With the Everton hierarchy’s initial target, Marco Silva lurking in the background after his dismissal from Watford, Allardyce’s job has never looked so precarious.
For Allardyce to thrive at Goodson Park and enjoy a lengthy reign substance must be met with style.