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Big Sam’s Clearing House

One of the biggest tasks that Sam Allardyce faces this summer is clearing out the rubbish left by his predecessors, writes Tom Atkinson.

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Over the course of the last few weeks my wife and I have struggled through the dull, laborious process that is packing up a home and moving it to another house in another city. As I wrapped some fragile pieces of chinaware in old newspaper I couldn’t help but feel an enormous sense of pity and anguish; the kind of desolation that leaves a knot in your stomach which twists and turns as you ponder the task ahead.

The sorrow I felt wasn’t for myself, however, it was for Sam Allardyce.

The more I raked through the house, the more rubbish I found that just needed to be thrown away. Sam Allardyce must be looking at the current Sunderland squad thinking the exact same thing to himself.

On several occasions I would find myself in a cupboard in a spare bedroom asking myself just how did my wife and I come to own three elaborate ash trays of various styles and colours? We don’t even smoke. Why is there a beaten up foot spa poking out of the laundry room? Sam must be looking at players like Will Buckley, Liam Bridcutt and Jordi Gomez and shaking his head in dismay - who bought this crap, and why?

I’d go into the kitchen and find just endless amounts of absolute rubbish that was worthless and unnecessary: apple corers, tea infusers, novelty cups all yanked out of the back of cupboards as I frowned furiously at the growing collection of useless utensils; my wife pleading the case as to why we need them. Allardyce’s brow must be as deep as the Mariana Trench with the amount of furrowing it must have done over the course of the last few weeks. Players like Billy Jones, Adam Matthews, Santiago Vergini and Sebastian Coates  are clogging up valuable room in our home and need to be disposed of immediately, no amount of pleading or supplication can save them.

It’s not just the clogging up of room, though, it’s the wasting of money that really adds insult to injury. Just how much did we pay for those awful pink pillows that were swiftly consigned to the back of the cupboard? Just how much has been wasted on transfers and wages on the aforementioned players that were swiftly consigned to the reserves? A travesty if there ever was one.

That being said, clearing out your old knick-knacks isn’t all doom and gloom, in fact it’s an opportunity for a fresh start, a new beginning. Undoubtedly Sam Allardyce is looking at the squad list in front of him, cringing a little and thinking about the amount of negotiating it’s going to take to part ways with some of his squad. But with no Director of Football to contend with, Allardyce has free rein over the comings and goings this summer and if there was ever a man to pull no punches in the transfer market, it would be Allardyce.

Across the course of the move I was constantly asked whether or not we should keep x, y or z useless item; my motto, much like Sam’s should be, was 'bin'.