Dreams, Gabrielle sang, can come true. She could well have been crooning about Big Sam who, after a decade-long wait, finally saw his biggest fantasy realised.
Yes, Sam Allardyce is England manager and a nation’s World Cup 2016 hopes rest in his significant-sized hands.
It’s hard not to love Big Sam. He’s overachieved with Bolton, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland (nobody mention Newcastle!), and kept football fans entertained along the way. From coining himself ‘Sam Allardici’ to the time he “out tactic-ed” Jose Mourinho, Allardyce is nothing if not great value.
Strap yourself in and allow loaded to guide you through the 10 greatest Big Sam quotes of all time.
On the trouble with being Big Sam
“I won’t ever be going to a top-four club because I’m not called Allardici, just Allardyce.”
On passing football
“All this tippy-tappy stuff – everybody keeps on going about the right way to play football – is all a load of bollocks sometimes. Getting the ball into the opposition box as quickly as you can with quality is definitely sometimes the best way forward and that’s what we did in the second half and that’s why we won the game.”
On managing at the top
“I’m not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid. It wouldn’t be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time. Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s not where I’m suited to, it’s just where I’ve been for most of the time. It’s not a problem to take me into the higher reaches of the Champions League or Premier League and would make my job a lot easier in winning it.”
On getting one over Jose Mourinho
“He can’t take it, can he? He can’t take it because we’ve out-tactic-ed him, out-witted him. He just can’t cope. He can tell me all he wants. I don’t give a sh*te, to be honest. I love to see Chelsea players moaning at the referee, trying to intimidate the officials, and Jose jumping up and down in his technical area. It’s great to see.”
On Arsene Wenger
“I enjoyed beating Arsenal more than anyone when I was in charge at Bolton. We’d really got to them and Arsene Wenger hated us. There was one time he wouldn’t shake hands with me at Highbury because we got a draw. I saw him ripping his tie off and throwing it on the floor in anger. He takes it all very personally and has an air of arrogance. He’s not one for inviting you into his office for a drink after the game. The more I wound him up, the more I liked it.”
On being misunderstood
“It rankles with me at times that I have to remind people what I have done. You have to accept it for what it is. If you start talking about it too much, you just get labelled big-headed, people go ‘He’s blowing his own trumpet again, what’s he on about this time?’ but if no one else is going to talk about it, you have to talk about it. You have to fight your own corner. The lingering long-ball sh*t, the old style, all that rubbish that’s never been me and never been a part of what I am.”
“I’ve always regarded losing possession in your own half as a criminal offence.”
On his failed England interview (part 1)
“I was interviewed for the England job in 2006 when Steve McClaren got it. I didn’t begrudge him the job, but I was never contacted after the interview. In future I won’t bother. A bureaucratic organisation, summed up by three C’s. Clueless, classless, c**ts. Even the girl on reception was up herself.”
On Louis van Gaal’s tactics
“We couldn’t cope with long-ball United – it was thump it forward and see what they could get.”
On his failed England interview (part 2)
“I wanted to do a real knock-your-socks-off interview for the FA, so I put together a PowerPoint which looked at every single detail. There was nothing missing. Nobody but nobody was going to beat it. But then Brian Barwick, the chief executive, told me there were no PowerPoint facilities at the interview venue, so I had to print off hard copies for the panel. So much for the progressive FA.”