There are a number of reports in today’s newspapers on the stress that Sam was under at Bolton – particularly the season when Bolton avoided relegation on the last day of the 2002 – 2003 season. Bolton struggled throughout that season but stayed up, winning their final game of the season 2-1 against Middlesbrough. Goals from Per Frandsen and Jay Jay Okocha saved them that day – and the victory condemned West Ham United , managed by Glenn Roeder, to relegation.
Will Sam be under increased stress at Newcastle ? The truth is the job will be the most stressful Sam has ever had – but a way out – is to bring success to the club.
A Slim Looking Sam Allardyce
This is what Sam had to say recently – we think to the Independent:
“There’s more pressure at this club,” “It hasn’t had the success it thinks it deserves in recent years. That brings the height of pressure almost immediately on me to bring an instant success.”
“I’m not sure I can do that. I hope I can, but I’m not sure. I’m trying to plan for enough time to make sure I build something that’s successful and sustainable in the long term, a period of years rather than a one-off season. “If I’m successful, I’m likely to be here for more than my three-year contract; if not, I’m likely not to see that time out. I suppose I’ll find out why it’s been such a tough nut to crack in the next 12 months.”
That certainly sounds like the truth.
One of the big problems Allardyce has to tackle immediately is the injury problems that have been rampant at Newcastle for a few seasons now. Even when Sam arrived – to be announced as manager last Tuesday – the Newcastle chairman was injured with a broken rib – and couldn’t attend the conference call.
But stress is only there when things are going badly – when things are going well there’s an enthusiastic tension that is exhilerating – and Sam knows this is his best (and probably last) chance to become one of the top managers in football.
Sam Allardyce Holding Cup – circa 2009
Has he got the talent? We think so – but obviously we’ll have to wait and see – since Sam has never been in the position of being backed with transfer funds.
Sam went on:
“I’d have stayed at Bolton had we qualified for the Champions’ League,” Allardyce said. “We were a whisker away, but ultimately, from a financial point of view, we couldn’t quite get the squad to get us there. “To come that close with a club like Bolton was a miraculous achievement. For Newcastle, it is a starting point.”
Finally, as for the tension we suggest Sam have a call with Graeme Souness – who went through extremely stressful times at Newcastle – and often showed it.
The good news for Sam is that prescription drugs for anxiety, depression and stress are now better than they’ve ever been – and they even seem to work.
When Newcastle scored a goal to win a game during Souness’ era he was asked why he had been so calm – “The pills must be working” came the famous reply.
Souness wisely had them prescribed when he took the Newcastle job and we are told that one bottle had the following instructions on it:
Take one after a Newcastle defeat – take two if defeat more than three goals.
While of course we cannot verify this absolutely we know one thing – and that is that Sam will get more support from the Geordie fans than he ever dreamed of – as long as he brings some success to Tyneside – and then he’ll be in the job a lot longer than three years.
Note: We are also told it helps to have a sense of humor when under stress.