Yesterday was certainly a busy day at Everton. The club shifted around the boardroom and appointed a new director of football in Marcel Brands. They also sacked their manager. After just six months in charge, Sam Allardyce has been given the boot by Everton, despite having one more year to run on his contract.
It was a decision that met with something of a backlash from those away from the club. Non-Everton fans and pundits asked why Allardyce was chopped. ‘Big Sam’ was asked to come in and do a job for Everton. After a torrid season based on the rocky foundations of poor recruitment Everton were in relegation danger. With that in mind, Ronald Koeman was sacked and with David Unsworth struggling to turn things around Everton eventually turned to Allardyce.
But it was common knowledge Everton did not want Allardyce. The former England boss was clearly not their number one choice. In an ideal world, the Toffees would have employed him only until the end of the campaign, but Big Sam pushed for an 18-month deal knowing this might be the eventuality that befell him.
Everton ended up finishing the season eighth, which was impressive considering their struggles early on.
But to say Allardyce kept Everton in the Premier League is something of an exaggeration. Many Everton fans feel Unsworth would have done the same job, although finishing in the top half might have been a stretch.
Yet, the football being played by Everton under Allardyce was woeful to watch. Fans were indeed happy Everton survived after a difficult start, but at what cost?
A simple statistic sums it all up. In the time since Allardyce’s appointment in November Everton had just 213 shots at goal in the Premier League. No team has had fewer and that is simply not acceptable.
Fans, especially at a club like Everton, go to watch their team and be entertained. Allardyce again proved he is adept at keeping a side in the Premier League, but making them good to watch he is not.
Fans at Goodison Park would undoubtedly rather be entertained and finish 12th, then have to watch Allardyce’s brand of football and trudge their way through a season into eighth.
Evertonians did not like the man or what he was doing on the pitch. Off of it, was not much better either. The decision to send Ademola Lookman away, the waiting to pull the trigger on Cenk Tosun and his general demeanour just rubbed the fans up the wrong way.
Everton now have a chance to appoint a new manager and start playing their own brand of football again.
With Allardyce it will always be a thanks but no thanks relationship with the Everton fans. Outsiders will continue to question what it was Everton fans wanted. But they did not have to suffer through the Allardyce style week-in and week-out, whilst paying a heap of money to do so.
He had to go and hopefully Everton will be entertained next season, rather than just surviving.