Sam Allardyce and the State of the Premier League

Sam Allardyce today became the second Premier League manager to lose his job in the month of December following Chris Hughton’s dismissal from Newcastle last week.

Big Sam as he’s fondly known as had a reputation for playing some of the dullest football in the league, Mr Anti-Football to some. A constant moaner and abuser of referee’s, he has been one of the most unpopular managers in the division over the past decade. On a limited transfer budget and sitting 13th in the table, 1 point behind 8th place Newcastle, was he deserving of the boot, or is he just another example of how harsh the Premier League is?

The Success of the Premier League

The Premier League is the world’s most lucrative in terms of revenue and most watched football league. Over the past decade alone the popularity, ticket prices, transfer spend and changes in managers have soared.

The English Premier League

The Premier League is not just multi-national in terms of its fanbase, but everything about the league has a multi-national and worldwide feel about it. In 17 seasons, 0 English managers have one their native division. Of the 19 Premier League sides currently with a manager, only 5 of them are English.

Blackburn Rovers Takeover

On October 19th, the Rao family from India completed the takeover of Blackburn Rovers under their company name, the Venky Group. Since then, Sam Allardyce has won 4 of 10 Premier League matches, losing 5, including an embarrassing 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United, and yesterday’s 2-1 loss at rivals and 10-man Bolton Wanderers. Defeats to Chelsea and Tottenham were largely expected.

Downhill from Bolton

Having lost out to Steve McClaren for the England job in 2006, Sam Allardyce hasn’t had much luck in football since. Departing from Bolton Wanderers in 2007, where he successfully guided them into the top half of the Premier League and UEFA Cup football, playing the long ball game, he lasted less than a year in charge at Newcastle United. Dismissed when 11th in the Premier League, the Magpies would soon drop down the table and eventually out of the division for a year. Blackburn Rovers are currently 13th in the Premier League table, and you have to wonder whether their new manager will make a significant improvement to their position, given in mind that Sam Allardyce was perfectly capable of sneaking into the top half with his current side.

Not wanting to put any blame on the new owners, bearing in mind it was an English chairman that dismissed English manager Chris Hughton last week, but clubs are losing their identity with all the foreign ownerships, foreign managers and of course, squads overloaded with foreign players in the Premier League.

Foreign Investment

The Venky Group became the 9th foreign owners (not including Arsenal) of a Premier League side in October. Arsenal’s majority shareholder is American, while Aston Villa, Liverpool, Manchester United and Sunderland are all owned by Americans. Birmingham City are owned by Carson Yeung from China, Chelsea by Roman Abramovich, Fulham by Mohamed Al-Fayed and Manchester City owned by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 33% of Arsenal is still owned by English shareholders.

Brand of Football

The dismissal of Sam Allardyce will come as a joy to many whom don’t take to his brand of football. He has become synonymous with the long ball game. Blackburn’s league low 60% pass completion rate and season ticket prices cheaper than many teams in divisions below don’t make nice reading either. Not that Blackburn sold out more than twice in their title winning 1994/95 season anyway.

Another Foreign Manager?

Both Alan Curbishley and Chris Hughton represent England amongst the bookmakers favourites to become the next Blackburn Rovers manager, but it is Dutch man Martin Jol who is the current favourite to replace Allardyce.

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