On Tuesday afternoon Sam Allardyce gave his first press conference since being installed as Sunderland’s latest manager.
In contrast to Steve McClaren’s unveiling in front of a single newspaper journalist, Allardyce had all the great and the good of the region’s journalists hanging on his every word.
They were treated to all his usual bluster and he said he hoped to stay longer than his seven month episode at St James Park, but also claimed he was a ‘man for the future’ and didn’t want to ‘dwell on the past’.
Despite this, Sam Allardyce had no hesitation in revisiting the…past, the past he spent at Newcastle United.
Allardyce claimed that Newcastle was the right club for him but at the wrong time, though he decided to add some ‘facts’ to back up his argument that he was actually a success story at Newcastle who was treated unfairly.
The facts he came out with were that Newcastle started the season under him with 18 points from 10 matches, which he says was the best beginning to a season in ‘God knows how many years’ for United.
Then repeating what he has claimed before, Sam Allardyce said that ‘a bad result’ at Christmas got him the sack.
This is what Sam Allardyce told journalists yesterday and below are the alternative ‘facts’, in other words what actually happened when he was at Newcastle!
“Newcastle is in the past, it is all over, I am a man for the future and I don’t dwell on the past.
“It happened and like I said at the time, it was the right club at the wrong time.”
A great start:
“We had a great start at my old club (Newcastle), 18 points in the first 10 games, which was the best start they had had in God knows how many years.
“But that didn’t matter because at Christmas when we had a bad result…if you get a bad result, then you need your owners to be strong because you might be able to come through it – if you don’t have that, you get sacked.”
“Since then I have done pretty well – I am back in the north east to try to make Sunderland as good as I possibly can.
“Hopefully I will be more successful than I have been in the past (in the north east), I hope I stay a lot longer than that.”
If you look below, there are the points totals for the start of that Sam Allardyce season at Newcastle, plus the previous six seasons.
Each season has the total number of points in the first 22 Premier League matches, then in brackets the number of points gained in the first 10 games and then the number in the following 12 matches – followed by the manager(s) in charge each of those seasons in the opening games.
Sam Allardyce actually got 17 points, not 18, in his first 10 games, so he is almost correct there.
Also, 17 points (or 18..) is indeed a decent start to a season, though it was only six years before that Sir Bobby Robson achieved the same number of points in the first 10 games.
However, with statistics you do have to see the full picture and Allardyce was not sacked because he got 17 points in those 10 initial games, or indeed because of one bad result at Christmas.
In the entire 22 games before Kevin Keegan took over after Sam Allardyce, Newcastle got a total of 26 points from those games.
Only 9 points were added in the 12 (the final one of the 12 was a 6-0 defeat at Old Trafford after Allardyce’s sacking and before Keegan’s appointment – it was still down to Fat Sam though in my opinion, his team/players) games that followed the opening 10 matches.
In this opening set of results that Allardyce loves to talk about, the fixture list threw up the opposite of what we have had this current season, all the games against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool, came AFTER that opening 10 match run.
When you compare the points totals from previous seasons, both the immediate last two seasons saw the same 26 points total after 22 matches, seasons in which Souness and Roeder both lost their jobs as well.
Indeed only the 2004/05 season saw a lower points total in 22 games and that was only by two points.
In the three previous ones under Sir Bobby. Newcastle had 17, 13 and 7 points more respectively in each of those seasons after 22 games than Sam Allardyce’s 26 points.
2007/08 26 points (17 + 9) Sam Allardyce
2006/07 26 points (8 + 18) Glenn Roeder
2005/06 26 points (12 + 14) Graeme Souness
2004/05 24 points (14 + 10) Sir Bobby Robson/Graeme Souness
2003/04 33 points (15 + 18) Sir Bobby Robson
2002/03 39 points (16 + 23) Sir Bobby Robson
2001/02 41 points (17 + 24) Sir Bobby Robson
When you also bear in mind that Allardyce was given a relative fortune to spend on transfer fees and wages, the return starts to look pretty dismal.
This is without taking into account the abysmal style of football he also served up.
Immediately before his eventual sacking, Newcastle had drawn at home to Derby (who broke Sunderland’s record lowest PL points total, despite Allardyce gifting them four points – having already lost 1-0 away to them) and then lost the next three league matches.
The final straw was an FA Cup match at then lower league side Stoke, where a terrible negative formation and strategy saw Newcastle’s goal lead an unbelievably charmed life, somehow coming away with a 0-0 draw.
The replay came on the day Kevin Keegan agreed to take over and released from the Allardyce negativity, Newcastle took Stoke apart 4-1 despite playing for 61 minutes with 10 men.
I don’t know of one Newcastle fan around at that time who wasn’t convinced that on top of the terrible football, Sam Allardyce would have eventually taken us down.
Indeed, much of the blame for the next season’s relegation should still be put at his door, with terrible signings such as Viduka, Geremi, Smith and Barton proving disastrous as United slid into the Championship.
Once again, blame it on the deluded, ungrateful Geordies!
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