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Roker Ramble: You have a dirty job that needs doing? Call Sam Allardyce, ‘The Mechanic’

Peaky Blinders, Star Trek, Star Wars, Jason Statham and Ian Holloway. It's the Roker Ramble.

Manchester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League
And that’s what happens to people who cross me....
Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Sam Allardyce is The Mechanic.

You have a dirty job that needs doing? You call The Mechanic.

Is it a job that no-one else wants? You call The Mechanic.

There’s only one problem, you won’t find him, unless he wants to be found.

Luckily for Everton, Sam wants to be found. It’s actually quite difficult to read, watch, listen or absorb via osmosis anything about football at the moment without coming across Sam.

‘But Sam has retired’ I hear you say. ‘He’s distanced himself from the Everton job’ - and this is true. But Sam is The Mechanic, he tries to get out but they keep pulling him back in.

So when Everton make such a cow’s backside of their new manager search – who you gonna call? And with the position that they’re in, Sam will take them to the cleaners.

He’ll have so much control over the team, transfers, trainers, training, trophies and transport that Bill Kenwright’s going to feel like the man who fell asleep alone and woke up under Kevin Spacey.

In fact it would probably be cheaper just to hire Jason Statham. And if he walked into a dressing room of disgruntled and truculent players and told them to ‘go out there and win’, I’m pretty sure they would. He wouldn’t be able to tell them how to do it of course, but then he probably wouldn’t have to.

And, I could be wrong – it’s been known, but there appears to be a spate of Peaky Blinders haircuts out there. Nicolas Otamendi looked suspiciously like he belonged in twenties Birmingham, as did Matt Ritchie and DeAndre Yedlin for Newcastle, which is appropriate given that they almost have a Shelby playing in the team. But the real Peaky Blinder was nowhere to be seen. Wayne Rooney could so get away with a PB haircut, but he’s not even getting a game at the moment – what’s all that about?

Newcastle United v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Tell the boys to wear their caps in the second half.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Given the mess the team is in, why isn’t the most gifted footballer of his generation playing for his boyhood team who he’s supported all his life? Out there making a difference re-writing headlines, saving the day, rallying his team mates? Could it be because his wife’s still giving him hell on earth at home, could it be that David Unsworth can’t get the best out him, or could it be that he’s just being a bit of a tart?

Bit of a pickle – who you gonna call?

Everton FC v Atalanta - UEFA Europa League
Well if I can’t win then I won’t play!
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Old Trafford - the Theatre of Dreams - is one of the most legendary grounds in the world. I’ve never been, but I freely admit it must be really something.

I only have one criticism... the brickwork around the two managers ‘dugouts’.

I’ve never liked it - I’ve always thought it was totally incongruous. It makes the managers area look like something Taylor Wimpey would put up out front of a show home to hold the small flower displays and advertising. If the manager isn’t out in his technical area he looks like he’s sitting in his garden peering over the neighbour’s wall.

CSKA Moskva v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League
Full speed ahead, warp-factor nine.
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

I’m sure they could come up with something better, I mean they could remodel it like the bridge of the Enterprise, with José sitting in Kirk’s big swivel chair, whilst the visiting team sit in a mocked up version of a slave galley looking like they’re chained to the oars. Or the United bench could all sit in X-wing star-fighters wearing Wookie tracksuits and have sound-only laser cannons to fire at the opposition as they run past.

I bet there isn’t a law in the FA rule book that says you can’t.

Whilst we’re on the subject – every time the Liverpool team go out onto the pitch, they’re supposed to tap the ‘This is Anfield’ sign. Why? Do they need reminding where they are?

One of the names not mentioned in the Everton search was that of Ian Holloway, current incumbent at QPR. Not that he’s a bad manager, just that he belongs to what’s apparently known as the pale, stale, male’ generation who’re out of favour with the bigger clubs. He went out on a limb this week, criticising the QPR fans for leaving their match with Brentford early – despite the fact that they were two-nil down with full-time looming.

What happened next, was that QPR scored twice in injury time to draw level. And what I don’t get was – what was he so mad about?

His team did brilliantly even without the fans, and they’ll probably think twice about leaving early next time. But it’s an ongoing debate and there’ll always be two sides to the argument. My own thoughts are that if the team are visibly fighting to the final whistle then I want to stay. But if the players have given up or are playing the sort of football that we’ve been subjected to recently, then Holloway should be pleased that they turned up at all.

Blackburn Rovers v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship
Oy, where do you think you're going?
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

On a far larger scale than supporters not turning up is when the team has a match but the ground isn’t available, which is what happened to West Ham this year. They didn’t play their first home game of the season until the second week of September due to the stadium being used for an athletics meeting.

However, the club has issued a statement this week denying that they’ve asked the FA to ensure they have an away game on Boxing Day due to the crowds of shoppers expected at the Westfield Shopping Centre next to the ground.

A West Ham United spokesperson said:

There is categorically no agreement in place that means West Ham United have to play Boxing Day fixtures away from home.

The Hammers are away to Bournemouth on December 26th, away to Spurs on New Year’s eve, and have an evening kick-off on Jan 2nd . Should Curry’s announce a late sale in January, the emergency services may have to get involved.

And finally, from the States, a sad tale of the rich and famous in Beverly Hills.

The ‘referee administrator and game scheduler’ for the American Youth Soccer Organization’ branch in Beverly Hills is stepping down. A volunteer, he organized the games for 1800 children aged 4-17 in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and the Pacific Palisades, but he’s had enough.

This will be my last year as your referee administrator and I will no longer be the game scheduler.

- he wrote to the parents.

... and there’s a reason, I have come to despise so many of you and I hold so many of you in contempt.

Well, you tell it how it is bonny lad.

President Trump And First Lady Melania Hold National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony
And if my son isn't the next Lionel Messi, then we're going to bomb the crap out of you.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a phone interview he went on – too many parents spouted expletive-laden, toxic sentiments, he said.

It’s the venom. ‘Kill them; get in there, girls, hit them hard’.

He went on:

The idea that parents have the right to yell at referees, what kind of message are they sending their kids? People are channeling their inner Donald Trump. They have no filter. Something has to change because we are damaging the children.

He said he’s received about 200 replies from colleagues and parents, all of them positive. His answer:

You’re agreeing with me? I’m talking about you. My whole email was directed at you.

Nice to know there’s still someone out there who talks sense.

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