Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce will be hoping that 2008 brings improved fortunes after a nightmare first few months in the St James’ Park hotseat. Despite the Magpies sitting relatively comfortably in mid-table, there has been open hostility to the former Bolton coach, as well as daily speculation over his future.
United take on Manchester City this evening and Allardyce’s opposite number Sven-Goran Eriksson has spoken out in support of his fellow manager. The Independent report that the Swede believes Big Sam can prove himself as the right man for the job, providing he is given time.
Eriksson said: “Sam Allardyce has thick skin and he can stand up to what is happening there and will resolve it. Everyone knows he is a great manager. The job he did for Bolton was fantastic. The thing with jobs like that is if you win you are fantastic and if you lose it is the opposite, there is never anything in between.
“People might say would anyone choose to manage Newcastle? But then you might say would anyone choose to manage England? For me they are both dream jobs. You are talking about a big club, a fantastic stadium and support, nobody would ever say no to that job. Although I would emphasise I am happy where I am.”
Unfortunately for recent Newcastle managers, the ‘fantastic support’ of which Eriksson speaks has been more of a hindrance than a boost. The weight of supporter expectation has been a heavy load for Allardyce and his many predecessors to carry – he’ll have to start achieving improved performances and results quickly to win the hearts of the Toon Army.