Football: Sam Allardyce – The Challenge

It’s another defeat for Newcastle United. Another sub-standard performance. More dissent from the travelling fans. You sense that much more of this, and Sam Allardyce’s long-term project may be brought to an early close.

It is possible in a football club, that disaffected players can bring on a managers demise. Players disaffected with a managers style; routines; strategy. Players who subtly under perform, knowing the pressure it will bring on the manager. Players who will carry the burden of defeat, knowing the manager can do nothing about it.

Sam Allardyce betrayed some of this sense of anxiety a few weeks ago. When asked about how he saw the game against Arsenal panning out, he said,’We’ll be OK if the players believe in what we are trying to do’.

Which intimates that some players don’t believe in the Allardyce way. Without that belief, Allardyce has little or no chance of succeeding. Reviving the fortunes of Newcastle United is one of the hardest jobs in football. Sam Allardyce is discovering just why that is. In changing a stop situation, then this is exactly the kind of errant behaviour to expect.

There can be no doubting Sam Allardyce’s ability. His work at Blackpool, Notts. County and Bolton Wanderers, inform us that his methods work. But for his methods to work at Newcastle United will demand time. And it may be, that in building a success culture at Newcastle, Allardyce will have to change some of the football’s clubs core values. In the same way that Jose Mourinho did at Chelsea. In overlaying the natural flamboyant, but underachieving style, with knowing-how-to-winability.

Mourinho, however, had a much stronger success platform to build on than the one Allardyce has. The Newcastle owners have to decide whether they will accept a period of underachievement, whilst the foundations for success are being built.

Or decide that the habits and patterns they are seeing played out on the pitch, indicate that the Allardyce way, is not the Newcastle way. That, perhaps, is what some of his players, are hoping for.

If the board choose the latter option, then it will be back to the drawing board. Again! And the Newcastle cycle of self-sabotage will be played out. Again!

Posted in Football Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.