What Palace fans can expect from Sam Allardyce - from Sunderland and West Ham fans

Written by FYP Fanzine

Pints of wine all round! Sam Allardyce has been appointed the new Palace manager but what can we expect? We asked a Sunderland and a West Ham fan...

Sunderland - Gareth Barker (Wise Men Say Podcast)

2016 is a cruel mistress and it’s a disappointment that Sam is going to rock up at Palace. Not because I want him at Sunderland, I really wish he had stayed but we have to move on from that. My disappointment stems from the fact Palace are no longer a relegation rival. I’d go as far to say, that under Allardyce, I’d expect to see you pushing top 10.

I’m not completely crazy and I’ve not been drinking. What you’ll read and hear from some club’s supporters on Sam is not what I experienced during his short time with us.

Yes, he loves himself. Yes, he’s a bit arrogant. However, he’ll still be a step down from Pardew in that respect. If you back him from the stands then you’ll reap the rewards. It’s important to buy in to what he wants to do and trust him. You’ll not be disappointed.

When he came to Sunderland, our squad was pretty dire. He set us up to play functionally. Be organised. Don’t concede goals. Try and nick something. This is the Allardyce that people chastise, there’s a belief that this is all he is. Rubbish.

Like any manager in the league should be doing, he’ll try and get the maximum from the squad at his disposal. That’s why we were functional in his early days. Then he had a good January and we became a threat. We were very aggressive in the final third, we played a direct style. Not long ball, direct.

Looking at Palace’s squad, Sam will be laughing his head off. Benteke is Allardyce’s dream striker, you’ve got Remy coming back. Then you’ve got people like Zaha, Townsend, Puncheon and Sakho. These players are so direct they’ll fit perfectly into a blueprint similar to ours.

I’d imagine he’d get Dann and Tomkins up to speed quite quickly. James McArthur could be an important player for Sam. If he can pick up the second balls and free the wide men early then you’ll see what I mean by direct and aggressive. Players will flood the box, looking to get shots away early when the chance breaks. 

He might want to look at the middle of the park as an area to improve. He had M’Vila covering all over for us and I’d think he’d want to add that sort of player given how free running your attacking players are. I’d also suspect he’ll want to recruit full backs on both sides too.

Sam improved players whilst at Sunderland, too. I’m looking at Yohan Cabaye and thinking that will be a nice little project. Sam will get the best out of Cabaye in time, and his set piece delivery will be an important factor too. We all know Sam loves his set plays.

Overall I’d say ignore the moaners who claim he’s an outdated, long ball merchant. That’s a load of garbage. He was one of the forerunners when it came to sports science and he was progressive on that front at Sunderland too.

He will do what he needs to do to win games. I’d say Palace are lucky to get him with the squad you’ve got because he’ll not have to do too much to start turning things around.

If Palace don’t finish top 12 this season I’ll be very surprised. It’ll be a shame to watch him carry out the project at Palace that he should have been doing at Sunderland. I fully expect him to deliver.

West Ham - David Blackmore (Blowing Bubbles Monthly)

He wasn’t a popular manager at West Ham but Sam Allardyce is exactly what Crystal Palace need right now.
He boasts about his record of having never been relegated for a reason – Sunderland appeared to have already checked out of the Premier League before Allardyce transformed them.

His style won’t be admired by the purists among you Eagles but Big Sam will be rubbing his hands together at the squad he has inherited as it’s suited and schooled in playing his way.

There’s no getting away from that fact he prefers a direct style of football. During his time at West Ham, we were top among Premier League clubs in 2014/15 for crosses from open play and headed shots.

The figures are similar at Palace. Only Southampton have made more crosses this season, while they are top for headed shots and headed goals.
From his time at West Ham and then Sunderland, Allardyce has shown a consistent ability to organise, structure and strengthen defences upon arrival at new clubs.

His work at Sunderland is a case in point - and will make impressive reading for Crystal Palace's decision makers.
In the final eight Premier League games of Dick Advocaat's reign, Sunderland shipped 18 goals and failed to keep any clean sheets.
In the following 30 fixtures under Allardyce they conceded just 44 times and shutout the opposition on seven occasions. That's a shift from conceding 2.25 goals per game on average to 1.47.

Only Swansea City and Hull City - both in the relegation zone - have conceded more goals in the Premier League then Crystal Palace this season. In contrast, only five teams have scored more.  It's tempting to think that an Allardyce-inspired tightening at the back could quickly propel you up the table.

Another positive for Allardyce is that he has a proven track record of bringing in decisive signings for achieving his target. At West Ham, it was to secure promotion back to the Premier League and then consolidate our league status – which we achieved, despite our frustrations, year after year.
His signings, if you believe he had much of a say in them, did not inspire much confidence but they got the job done. Kevin Nolan, Joey O’Brien, Guy Demel to name but a few.

And you’ve only got to look at his transfer business when he took over from Sunderland last January.
Centre-back Lamine Kone and central midfielder Jan Kirchhoff both impressed after being signed and started all but one Premier League game from February 2.

Then there was attacking midfielder Wahbi Khazri who was also an immediate first-choice and scored in hugely important wins over Manchester United and Chelsea.

The sticking point could be around how much money he is given. You guys broke your club record to sign £27m Christian Benteke in the summer, while Andros Townsend (£13m) and James Tomkins (£10m) were also expensive recruits.

If the money men are prepared to invest again, Allardyce has shown he is a responsible pair of hands when it comes to signing form-changing figures – and in moulding a team to stay in the Premier League.

Just pray you don’t end up with Nolan, O’Brien and Demel!

David Blackmore is editor of Blowing Bubbles Monthly, West Ham United's biggest fanzine. Find them online at blowing-bubbles.co.uk, on Twitter @WestHamMagazine and on Facebook.


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