When Sam Allardyce was appointed manager of Newcastle United in the summer, optimism soared high and buoyancy was swelling. But five months later optimism has ebbed away to pessimism and disappointment to such a degree that Big Sam’s future at St. James’ Park is under a massive grey cloud of doubt.
The ridiculously stark truth is that the man himself admits that he is under pressure. Big Sam has been feeling the heat for several weeks now and his relationship with the club’s owner Mike Ashley is speculated to be at a nadir over the sensitive issue of whether to sign new players in the January transfer window. However, for the first time, Allardyce has come out and publicly stated that he could be sacked should results do not improve soon. This is what the former Bolton manager had to say:
”The support is great, but at the end of the day, the pressure still mounts, it mounts despite that support. A team like us should not be losing at home. A team like us should not be losing three games on the trot. I am not daft enough not to know that I am in the results business and I need to win some football matches. That’s clear, but I will have to look at the encouraging performances today and at Chelsea and look to get the right decisions from the players at the right times. With that and a bit of luck, we can look to be a bit more ruthless in front of goal, but we are creating chances.”
The frank confession comes in the wake of the Magpies’ third defeat in a row in the Premier League. Newcastle lost at home for the third time in the league this season on Wednesday when they were defeated 2-0 by this season’s big risers Manchester City. The result means that Newcastle stay in 11th with 26 points from 21 matches. Although they look safe from relegation worries, the main concern is that they have to perform a miracle to carve out a UEFA Cup spot for themselves.
Big Sam wants money to spend in the January transfer market and while Ashley earlier refused to open the floodgates and allow his manager to lash out more money, club chairman Chris Mort has now acceded that some money will be poured onto Allardyce’s hands. At the same time, Mort has emphasised the current squad’s need to improve performance, saying:
”I would expect us to make a couple of further additions to the squad in January. But like any other club, we would prefer to add players in the summer transfer window than in January so that players have a chance to settle into the team. And January is always a more difficult time to extract high-quality players from their current clubs. With the strength we have in the squad, I am hopeful that the team will soon settle into a winning run that will push us back up the table to where we should be”
It would be naïve for Newcastle to sack Allardyce although the heat must be maintained on the manager as well as on the players. But can the Magpies improve with new signings? They are certainly better than mid-table also-rans but how can they resurrect the current losing rot?