When Sam Allardyce announced he was staying at Everton next season, the club’s fans might have despaired but the Pundits cheered.
Big Sam was brought in to ensure the Blues stayed clear of the relegation zone and has succeeded. Despite this, Allardyce hasn’t been a popular figure on Merseyside.
Evertonians want him replaced and have been showing as much for several months. The media are not impressed with their reaction.
The prevalent media opinion regarding their unrest is that they should be grateful for having Allardyce as Everton’s manager. Pundits feel the fans should be more realistic and remember how bleak the situation was before his arrival, thus considering the bigger picture.
His critics scorn his style of play and laugh in equal measure that his football just doesn’t fit the club. They’re not interested in the statistics. They simply point to where Everton were when he arrived, compared to now. As far as his supporters are concerned, Allardyce is good enough for the Toffees.
Talk of style, substance and everything else is simply redundant, despite the fact the numbers do not make for good reading.
Under Allardyce, Everton create the least number of chances in the league. No team have committed more defensive actions than The Toffees under his command.
Alarmingly, the Blues average pass length is among the longest, and their pass success one of the lowest. In summary, it’s long ball, defensive football from the dark ages.
Everton fans may dislike Allardyce for his disparaging comments, and spin on mediocre results as positives, but they dislike him most for his football.
They want more from their team. They want a side that lives up to the club motto of Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. ‘Only the best is good enough.’
Yet to the pundits this is a notion that makes little sense, believing Everton fans’ desire to see better football is, at best, fanciful. It is hypocrisy at it’s worst. These same pundits will openly criticise clubs for not having more ambition at every given opportunity.
This criticism is expressed every time one of the top six beat one of the so-called smaller clubs. They will question why these sides don’t they have a go, be proactive instead playing a defensive game.
Watch Match of the Day from this season and you will find numerous examples of this.
Yet, when the fans of these clubs start to call for management change because they’re not happy with such football, they become the focus of the pundits’ criticism.
As Glenn Hoddle put it on Saturday during BT Sport’s coverage of Everton’s clash with Southampton;
“Everton fans should go to the theatre if they want entertainment.”
The hypocrisy and contradiction behind such a statement are staggering.Fans should want their teams to challenge and compete but they have no right to demand their team play that kind of football? It’s baffling whichever way you look at it.
Perhaps it is only the top six that should have ambition in the Premier League. As far as the pundits are concerned, everyone else should simply be happy to exist.
Football is a sport. Sport should provide entertainment. If it doesn’t, there’s very little point to it. Perhaps if people like Glenn Hoddle had watched more Everton fixtures under Allardyce, he’d understand why the fans want more for their money.
Everton are a big club, one of England’s biggest, with a history of playing good, attractive football. There is a reason they once called themselves ‘The School of Science.’
Their fans have every right to demand more from their side, and shouldn’t let pundits like Hoddle tell them otherwise.