When Sam Allardyce was sacked from his role at England manager, the first thing I did was check what odds were available on him being back in management by Christmas.
What prevented me from putting twenty quid on him returning at over 50/1 was the fact most clubs looked secure with the person in charge, with the exception of Sunderland; and he wouldn’t be returning to them.
In hindsight, it should have been a no-brainer that Big Sam, despite his wrongdoings, would be back in the Premier League, for the simple fact that he is bloody good at what he does.
Forgetting the secret meetings with dodgy businessmen, willingness to beat a system which has been put in place by the hand that feeds him, or pre-midday pint of wine; it is on the pitch what counts for 99%* of people in the game, and that is why he has found a job so soon.
Watford is a very tough place to visit, yet in his first game with new club Palace, Allardyce’s side should have taken all three points; and could have had it not been for a shocking Benteke penalty.
When Deeney equalised with twenty minutes to go – you’d have assumed that under Pardew, the Selhurst Park side would have crumbled and let in a late goal. Not on Sam’s watch.
Many have criticised club owner, Steve Parish, for getting into a bed with a man whose reputation was tarnished in the most sinister way possible.
If it had all happened behind closed doors, it might have been overlooked. Yet grainy video from the vultures in the press was a bad way to go.
Allardyce lost a huge amount of credibility, respect and likability when those videos were released, but such things are easy to brush aside if it means staying in the Premier League for the foreseeable future, which is where the Eagles will be all the time the former Bolton, West Ham and Newcastle manager is there.
This time last year, Crystal Palace were fifth in the Premier League – and playing some incredible football.
Yet, with what can only be described as a mixture of bad luck and poor decisions, they have certainly had a calendar year to forget, putting them in the mix with relegation fodder.
Thrilling to watch for the neutral, because of how exciting they are going forward, and leaky at the back, Allardyce will stamp that out, ensuring those games which have been 3-3, 5-4 or 3-2, will become 1-0 or 1-1.
Ask any Palace fan, and it’s all about survival over style, and it doesn’t matter who is in charge, as long as that person can keep them in the top division.
Welcome back Big Sam.
*The other 1% are those Arsenal fans who love talking about finance as if it’s a trophy.
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