sports gazette

Big Sam's big statement

Published: 24 May 2017

A little longer than 67 days, but there is still a sense of surprise and abruptness about the manner of Sam Allardyce’s decision to resign his position as Crystal Palace Football Club manager and seemingly throw in the towel on his managerial career.

After his contentious reign as England boss, Big Sam had a big disappointment to recover from. Step forward Chairman Steve Parish and the club from SE25 who were in dire straits sitting 17th in the Premier League table and anticipating a change of fortunes to save them from the economical and evolutional disaster of relegation to the Championship.

However, clever signings, simple changes, and a roaring belief found its way to South East London and the Eagles were able to survive the drop and continue their prolific standing in the top division for a record fifth consecutive season.

It was thought that Parish and Allardyce were meeting in Central London to discuss future plans; transfer policy, team development etc. In fact, the announcement seemingly came as a big shock for Parish, who had previously been quoted championing next season’s plans under Big Sam.

As news filtered through, Crystal Palace fans were awaiting the confirmation from the club, the manager, or any other leading officials. Eventually, Allardyce and his representatives released a statement regarding his immediate resignation from the club.

The statement, although obviously well-constructed by a team of Allardyce caretakers, reads well and distinctly reveals that his reasons for departure are personal rather than professional.

The statement reads: "There comes a time when you have to take stock of what direction you want your life to take - and that's been the simple part for me. I want to be able to savour life while I'm still relatively young and when I'm still relatively healthy, even if I'm beginning to feel all my 62 years.”

It continues: "While I've got the energy, I want to travel and also spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager. I owe that to my wife and family.”

Crystal Palace fans would be forgiven doubting the sincerity of the statement, especially with a recent history of managerial U-turns. 

Crystal Palace fans would be forgiven doubting the sincerity of the statement, especially with a recent history of managerial U-turns.

Iain Dowie famously left Palace after stating that he wanted to move ‘up North’ with his family only to move 10 miles across London to take the manager’s job at Charlton Athletic. More recent, former boss and now bouncy Baggie Tony Pulis quit two days before the opening game of the season in 2014 after taking his loyalty bonus and stating his commitment to the club. He subsequently had to pay Crystal Palace £3.7m in damages. 

Despite previous experiences, this scenario feels different. Perhaps naively, this statement has met a reaction of approval with few doubting the sincerity of Allardyce’s actions. 

Allardyce’s statement reads: "This is the right time for me, I know that in my heart. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

We shall wait and see whether Allardyce stays loyal to his word but if this is the case, then the Selhurst faithful will collectively most likely say thank you, good luck and happy retirement.

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