Sam Allardyce reacts during West Brom’s defeat
Allardyce is fated to be a firefighter. England offered a final chance to send his career in a different direction but hubris and stupidity caused him to lose the job after one game. It was Allardyce’s bleakest moment as his Big Sam alter ego lived up to all preconceptions.
The Hawthorns has put its trust in the new manager. He would particularly enjoy getting something at Anfield and his relations with Liverpool have been fractious over the decades.
His long-running feud with Rafa Benitez is part of it, as is his friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson. It would be a real Christmas miracle if Allardyce can eke out a point against the champions after less than two weeks with the West Brom squad. It normally takes him more than a month – and a transfer window, ideally – to arrest the downward trajectory of a team.
One positive for Allardyce is Christmas has come early this year in football terms because of the delayed start to the season. Last year Boxing Day marked the halfway point in the campaign for most of the division. West Brom have four more games to work with than is usual at this point.
Few managers are more bullish about their own abilities than Allardyce. He is confident he can bring redemption to the Hawthorns but, at some point, living on the edge will catch up with him. West Brom are lacking in many departments. Christmas saviours risk getting crucified at Easter. Relegation would be the final blow to Allardyce’s reputation and probably end his Premier League career.
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