It has nearly been ten months since Sam Allardyce’s tenure as Everton manager came to end and ever since the axe fell on the ex-England man, Allardyce has been touring different media outlets, giving each one his version on why the sacking shouldn't have occurred and how there is an unjust perception on ‘the Allardyce style of play.’
Following this is an analysis his time at Everton and whether he right right about labels placed upon him or whether fan perception is right and that the Sam Allardyce style of play and the job he does alienates supporters.
1) Everton appoint Sam Allardyce
After a demoralising defeat away at struggling Southampton, Everton reopened talks with Allardyce to become their new manager. There was a mixed reaction to Big Sam's appointment as the majority of supporters recognising the predicament they were in after his first match in November but also had felt discomfort at the idea of Allardyce becoming the next manager in line in the Goodison dugout.
However, what follows is a story of apathy and anger amongst a traditionally loyal fanbase against a manager who was an Everton misfit.
“It is Everton isn’t it?” Allardyce remarked in his first press conference, while name dropping Paul Bracewell, Andy Gray and Peter Reid, in an attempt to win hearts and minds as manager of Everton.
Early signs were promising, a solid 2-0 home win against Huddersfield sparked the beginning of the Allardyce era, as the previously leaky Everton looked solid once more.
The 4-5-1 system Allardyce opted for in that game became a feature of his Everton tenure, however, as time went on the systems began to tire Everton fans, who could not accept his leadership.
Impatience and apathy weren’t a feature of Allardyce’s early weeks. A comfortable 0-3 victory in Cyprus, led by coach Craig Shakespeare set Everton nicely for the following Merseyside Derby.
Many expected a Liverpool victory prior to the game with many fans citing an improvement as worthy of approval before the game.
Everton, in their resolute shape, went and got a point. The Allardyce era began to surprise people. Wins against Newcastle, Swansea followed by a stalemate with Chelsea at Goodison that gave Everton fans an unlikely sense of optimism surrounding the former England head coach. Some started to believe he was better than just avoiding a worst case scenario situation.
‘We have organised the situation quicker than I expected, now is the time to be more creative’
But then Everton went to West Brom on Boxing Day. The Baggies, like Everton, had recently changed their manager, with Alan Pardew taking over. The Toffees were horrendous and were lucky to escape with a 0-0 stalemate to the league's rock-bottom side.
Then Bournemouth came, Everton, and their three defensive midfielders were horrid. Manchester United at home. Dire. The Allardyce era began to take a turn for the worse.
We go to Anfield for a second time in a month in what Allardyce described as a ‘glory game,’ meaning that Everton were going to take the shackles off and express themselves.
Sort of. Once Rooney came off for Ademola Lookman, Everton were acceptable and following the game there was little to no criticism of Allardyce.
However, the wretched Football reared it’s ugly head again. Capitulation at Spurs in a game where Allardyce pondered that Everton have to be ‘a bit more boring’ alienated Everton fans from our illustrious past. In truth, the 64-year-old was never going to make it as Everton manager for that sole reason.
A poor draw at the Hawthorns followed and by this point it was over a month since Everton won a game and relegation was hotly discussed once more.
But then Seamus Coleman came back in of the more positive moments of the season. Everton were excellent on deadline day to be fair to Allardyce but even that was overshadowed by the bewildering decision to loan out Lookman to Germany after adamantly declaring that the England U21 International was staying At Goodison.
Arsenal next. Arsenal 5-1 Everton. Embarrassing. Everton were 4-0 down at half time in that game with Allardyce playing five defenders, three midfielders and Oumar Niasse.
But that was all okay once Allardyce reasoned that performance on the fact that he had just ‘studied Swansea.’ Swansea went on to get relegated and that is the kind of company Allardyce had us in.
Sam Allardyce: an Everton misfit
From then on, it is hard to remember the games in much detail, wretched football became the norm for a club that’s club motto is nothing but the best is good enough.
Everton finished the season beating the likes of Newcastle, Brighton, Palace, Huddersfield and Stoke. Performances were not there. Snap shots of what to come next season were. Points on the board football.
Fans discontent became louder and louder. There was a Merseyside Derby in there too. Everton drew 0-0 to a fatigue, otherwise preoccupied Liverpool but it was fine, because Allardyce gave a very interesting analogy following the game that ‘if Everton’s two games in the league with Liverpool was a Champions League tie, Everton would progress.’
So we are at the end of the season now and Everton have their last home game against Mark Hughes’ Southampton. You’d think that there was all the motivation needed there to win and relegate the former Manchester City boss.
But, nothing was there. Everton equalised late on to secure a draw. No one stayed for the lap of appreciation, nor did Allardyce, citing media duties as an excuse, has not stopped anyone before has it?
After a 3-1 defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium, Everton sacked Allardyce.
Since then Everton have appointed Marco Silva and Allardyce has been doing the rounds in the media questioning Everton’s decision to part ways with him.
It just all adds insult to injury. Allardyce should have never ever become the manager of Everton. His tenure at Everton can be likened to a match made in hell. Allardyce never truly got on board with Everton fans and Everton fans never truly got on board with Allardyce. He was an Everton misfit, and the story of Allardyce will be remembered as the most grimacing period of Everton history.