Should Hull City look to Sam Allardyce to ensure Premier League survival?
Since winning back-to-back games to start their return to the top flight, Hull have won just one game in 15 league encounters. A 6-1 thrashing at Bournemouth, 5-1 beating from Liverpool and a 4-1 hammering against Arsenal have all taken the roar out from the Tigers start. They languish in relegation trouble and are now bottom of the league. Mike Phelan is feeling the pressure in his first managerial role which makes you think, would Hull be better bringing an experienced head before it’s too late?
There aren’t many better options for that than the man who has never been relegated from the top flight, Sam Allardyce. A maligned man just a few months ago, now a tarnished veteran following that England debacle which has left him unemployed. However, if he can keep City up come May, surely his recent incident shouldn’t matter, certainly to fans desperate to consolidate Premier League status.
He may have never been an International calibre boss to many, but when it comes to a dogged relegation scrap, there are few who become in their element like Big Sam does. Sunderland were the latest side to find that out as he transformed the Black Cats into a determined, hard-working team who beat Manchester United and Chelsea on their way to another escape from the drop. Blackburn and West Ham are other notable examples where he has implemented his style to maintain top flight football.
His transfer acumen is another influence he brings when brought in to perform a rescue act. The purchase of Stephen N’Zonzi at Blackburn for £500,000 was inspired as he has gone on to play for Sevilla. The likes of Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll, Aaron Cresswell and Cheick Kouyate all proved good buys at West Ham. Lamine Kone was a key signing in keeping Sunderland up as was Whabi Khazri, if Hull bring Big Sam, he could sign a few gems to improve an already stretched squad.
The arrivals of Ryan Mason and Will Keane have made next to no change to Hull’s situation, especially now Keane is ruled out for a year. The failure to attract more Premier League experience and proven quality has let them down with only Robert Snodgrass, Curtis Davies and Andy Robertson showing glimpses of inspiration to drag results out for Phelan’s men. A recent 3-3 draw to Crystal Palace highlighted their naivety and vulnerability of Hull. In their position to go 1-0 and 3-1 up and fail to win is an offence they can’t afford to make, which is why someone like Big Sam coming in to add more steel and organisation could be a season-saver.
Snodgrass is the club’s top scorer with seven in all competitions with Adama Diomande second on four, a clear lack of a potent goal scorer, something their rivals all possess. Sunderland have Jermain Defoe, Palace have Christian Benteke, Swansea have Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson, Hull need more firepower. Their 1-0 defeat at West Ham typified this as they played the Hammers off their own pitch, hit the post three times and had a header cleared off the line, yet came away with nothing. This isn’t Phelan’s fault and he’s been put in a tough job with a lack of resources and a board that left campaign preparations in a mess. The former Manchester United coach knows how he wants his side to play but doesn’t come across as the forceful, motivator, that a team like Hull needs in the desperate straits as they’re now in.
Appointing Big Sam can galvanise the squad and if results follow, City could well make a good fight of survival in the top flight. He knows how to inspire a group of players to play beyond their ability, Sunderland is proof of that last season. Given time, money to spend in January and the fans backing a man who has a track record of turning round seemingly sinking ships, it may be the best decision the Allam family have ever made.
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