A very good interview today with Big Sam Allardyce in Zootoday.com, and he has some interesting perspectives on the Tyneside club he managed for about seven months.
Sam Allardyce – while at Newcastle
Here’s the interview Sam gave.
Newcastle United are a massive club. Why can’t they get it right?
It’s owned by people outside of Newcastle and I feel that, from a business point of view, they’ve failed to structure it properly or set up a team that works together. People move in different directions. That is never going to bring success.
Was Kevin Keegan right to go?
All I know is that, as a manager, every relationship at a club is critical. If those aren’t functioning properly, the breakdown causes frustration. Frustration then turns to a perceived inability to do your job. Managers have to carry the can – we accept that when we’re hired – but if we’re being undermined, that’s a problem because we’re the ones who will get the flack and, eventually, the sack.
Do you envy the next Toon boss?
Newcastle is honestly the most difficult club in the country to make successful. The local media are very intense, needing a story every day, with only one big club to focus on. In that sense, it’s very much like managing Real Madrid or Barcelona – but at least their press has also got Atletico and Espanyol. You also have the fans, who are so passionate and want to see the team doing well. Any manager has to cope with that.
Is the Toon Army too demanding?
No, not at all. They pay good money and they expect their club to have a football team competing at a high level. Most fans have expectations in excess of reality. They see the cash floating about the game and feel their team should be doing amazing things. These days though, even £50m won’t get you into the top four. But the manager still feels pressure from the fans and that seeps down to the players. They’ve then got to perform in front of thousands of expectant fans with drained confidence and, consequently, the results suffer.
What next for Newcastle United?
Mike Ashley has made the decision to sell-up and that will benefit the club. A new owner must be found quickly and then they can move on. Much will depend on that owner’s mentality and what he knows about football. The new man mustn’t just build a new team – he has to build a football club, with a unified team behind the first XI. And that hasn’t happened in the past. I just feel sorry for the fans, because things haven’t been right for a very long time at Newcastle United Football Club.
We think there’s some good answers there from Sam, and having been in the hot seat on Tyneside, he knows how intense the manager job is at Newcastle.
We’re also pleased that he doesn’t seem to bear any animosity towards the club, but of course he was very handsomely paid as Newcastle manager.