This is an all too familiar situation, isn’t it?
It’s becoming so regular we should make it part of the calendar year, like Wimbledon fortnight or the X Factor signalling the run-up to Christmas.
Yes, it’s the time of year again when we could be on the lookout for a new manager.
Perhaps that’s it, maybe we should make it part of the club’s season.
We should make the whole of May an X Factor style process of finding a new manager for the start of every season.
That way, we know what’s coming and just accept what’s happening, instead of building up our hopes only for them to come crashing down again.
The insecurity breeds levels of anxiety that are too much to take on such a regular basis.
There is a small crumb of comfort to be had format all though.
At least this time, the threatened change of manager isn’t the result of crisis at the club, but that doesn’t stop the feelings of disappointment washing over you.
I might sound defeatist but it’s always the way.
From what started out as a few defiant “I can’t see them appointing Sam.” has now grown to waves of “God, they’re going to offer the job to Sam, aren’t they?”.
Now the country is at war with itself yet again over his potential appointment and it’s the argument from the anti-Allardyce that seems to make me pull up my guard and want to defend him against what I see as football’s snobs.
The trouble I have at times, is that when it comes to football I can see most perspectives and respect them all.
There is the left leaning ideologists who see an absence of style as defeat regardless of the result.
There are the right leaning pragmatists, who see the world as cynical and see winning at all costs as their objective.
Yet there is room for them both and everyone in between and I object to any patronising notion that one is better than the other.
We are part of a sport that is now cyclical, where the antidote to current trends in tactics can be found with another and continue to shift and evolve. There is no right and wrong way.
There was a time when I prescribed to the notion that football was a simple game that we seemed to make complicated by bad coaches.
I thought this because that had been drilled into me.
Why take ten passes to get the ball into the box when most goals are scored using three passes or fewer? That’s what I was told in by Charles Hughes as he tore apart our preconceptions about Brazilian football with examples of goals they’d scored without intricate passing moves. He was convincing though to a naive 17 year old taken in by it all at the time.
In a piece I read by Jamie Hamilton on thesefootballtimes.com the other day, he stated “Football is a complicated game made simple by fools.” and whilst “idiot” is too harsh a word for my liking, he’s right, “they” are wrong, football is the most complex of sports and those with more simplistic outlooks on the game are the ones being left behind and the main reason why the list of candidates for the England job is so short.
This is where the misconception about Sam lies. His critics are fooled by his simple interview vernacular which is at odds with his practical approach to the game.
Yet, regardless of the dearth of challengers for the post, the fact that he is so wilfully rejected, and with much distain, fills me with anger.
To some, it’s as if his appointment will drag us back to the dark ages of international wilderness like the 70s or the early 90s and that is just rubbish.
I know I can sometimes come across as someone who thinks they know it because of the conviction I have in my opinions but I have a fraction of the knowledge Sam Allardyce has about the game and if that’s the case with me then it sure will be the case with many of the people snidely commenting on his worthiness. Even if you do see Sam as 2D (he isn’t), look how far structure and functionality has taken many teams in Euro 2016.
It’s the same people saying Sam isn’t deserving of the role that also say Portugal didn’t deserve to win the Euros.
They are nothing deserving winners to their respective titles.
From a Sunderland perspective, it’s terrible news of course but I see no reason why Sam couldn’t do both.
If it was a less experienced manager, I wouldn’t suggest it but if anyone could handle the pressures of both then it’s Sam.
If the FA are talking about him mentoring younger manager whilst he’s in the role then that would share the load a little too.
The role of England manager is a part-time job that earns a full-time wage competitive with top club managers but part-time nonetheless. It’s the Richard Wright role of management.
Now that we’re in this situation, the best outcome I could see is Sam taking over part-time, with Eddie Howe being groomed to eventually take the reigns and then continue the job he started so well at the Stadium of Light.
It’s a situation that would allow Sam to keep steering the club in the right direction and for him to fulfil a long-held ambition.
Whatever the future holds, time is of the essence and either way the club need to know as soon as possible and I’d be surprised if they aren’t already working on worst case scenarios right now.
Come to think of it, with the revolving door that the manager’s office has become over recent years, perhaps we should start appointing two managers at a time, keeping one stored away in a glass box with a hammer next to it, so we can break them out for use in emergencies just like these.