Allardyce making the most of his down time

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 April, 2008, 12:00am

Big Sam enjoying new role as TV analyst

Sam Allardyce has had a lot of time for reflection these past few months. Ever since Newcastle United thought his services were no longer required in January, he's had to find other ways of occupying himself.

For a man who has been in football management, at one level or another, since finishing his playing career; suddenly he had nothing to do.

This was not in the original script.

Joining a major club with money to throw around surely provided Allardyce with the perfect stage to flaunt his skills.

Years leading a cash-strapped Bolton side to the higher echelons of the Premier League and European competition had surely groomed him for this. But eight months was all the relationship lasted.

As relationships go, some of Pamela Anderson's have lasted longer.

'It's very sad really. I wasn't given enough time. It was a knee-jerk reaction. The manager usually ends up taking the brunt of it and that's what happened,' Allardyce said.

'I feel I was a victim of a hasty decision. Over a long time I've been improving and developing myself as a high-quality manager - one who has proven he can manage at the highest level with little resources at times. So I was discarded very quickly.

'It's disappointing but I'm over it now. The growing of a new team is a very difficult thing. I got rid of a lot of players and brought a lot of new players in.

'Essentially I had to build two teams at Newcastle - one on the field and one off it. There were a lot of new faces. We needed time to get the best out of everyone and I just wasn't given enough. The owners who are patient get the best rewards as Manchester United and Arsenal have shown. Owners who withstand the pressures from outside forces and stick with their manager will get their reward.'

All the while he's been at home getting under his wife's feet, Allardyce's old side Bolton have been struggling for their Premier League survival. How times have changed and he has his own views on where it has all gone wrong for them.

'They got off to a poor start to the season and then sold their major asset, Nicolas Anelka. That coupled with the fact some of the new players haven't done well has plummeted them into relegation trouble,' he said.

'Without trying to sound egotistical it shows the importance of your manager if that club wants to be successful. At any football club not just Bolton.'

The point being, at Bolton, Allardyce was a success, but it was only after years of hard graft got him there.

Allardyce began his managerial career as player-manager at Irish club Limerick for a year, guiding them to promotion.

'I'd a great chairman there called Father Joe Young,' he said. 'He really was brilliant. He'd be there at the matches with the dog collar on. If only all the chairman I've worked for were as good as him.'

Impressive stints with Blackpool and Notts County earned him the Bolton job in 1999 and unprecedented success.

Then he went to Newcastle last summer, but was gone by January.

So for now it's the life of leisure for Allardyce and his latest stop has been in Singapore working for ESPN Star Sports as a guest analyst. It's all very different from the daily toil as the manager of a Premier League side.

'I found it hard for the first few weeks. Your whole life changes overnight,' he said. 'Your dedication to the job is 24/7, you're making daily decisions and it's constantly with you. Suddenly it goes from this to nothing.

'Then it's just you and your family. You've no decisions to make. You go through withdrawal symptoms like when somebody stops smoking.

'So you have to make sure that doesn't overcome you. I decided to travel around the world and not dwell on it. I've finally been able to see some of the world.

'Of course, I'm hoping that further down the line someone will employ me as a Premier League manager again.'

Apparently you can travel as much as you like, but some passions are just too hard to abandon.